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No. Case, -■::^-0- . 

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No. Book JX^^-- 

( 1)11X10(5 the Attack ) 

Rfili^ioiis Tract Society 1859 . 









^Translatcti from t\)t jhtnd). 






riiOTECTOES and Eenefactors of the Yaiidois ! Princes, 
Magistrates, and Christians of every denomination, rank, 
order, condition, and sex, who by a gracious dispensation 
of Providence, and the effect of a fervent Christian charity, 
have co-operated in past ages, and who still co-operate, for 
the preservation of the feeble remnant of the Yaudois of 
Piedmont ! 

Permit the humble Author of this History, himself a 
son of the Yaudois church, the exti'aordinary vicissitudes 
of which he has here attempted to describe — ^permit him 
to be the organ and interpreter of the sentiments that 
animate this scanty but grateful population towards their 
charitable protectors and benefactors. Pennit him to be 
the echo of the benedictions and prayers which incessantly 
arise, on theii' behalf, from the hearts of mere simple and 
obscure men, who still live under the cross, surrounded by 
snares, seductions, and dangers, contraiy to the benevolent 
intentions of their revered and beloved sovereign. 

May the memorj^ of those powerful, glorious, and 
charitable protectors and benefactors, who have entered 
into rest, be blessed for ever ! 


May the most precious blessings, temporal and eternal, 
of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, continue to rest 
abundantly on those who are now living, and on their 
children and descendants to the remotest generations ! 

These sentiments and wishes — a feeble token of their 
gratitude — truly animate the hearts of the Yaudois of the 
Piedmontese Alps towards their generous protectors and 
benefactors past and present, and are shared and expressed 
on this occasion, mth profound respect, by one of their 
number, in the name of all. 

A^^T. MO]^ASTIER, Pastok. 

Oct 17, 1846. 


-^ r n ■^Ti 


To demonstrate theii- close connexion with the primitive 
church founded by the apostles, to establish theii' right to 
call themselves a faithful church, and even to be regarded 
as forming the true chiux-h of the Lord Jesus Clmst on 
earth, the evangelical churches appeal to the conformity of 
theii' doctrines, their worship, and their internal life Avith 
the pictm^e the l^ew Testament gives us of the primitive 
church, and with the precepts, rules, and regulations taught 
by this same word. This internal argument is, in fact, the 
most important on this question ; it has an irresistible force, 
and is of itself sufficient. 

Yet there is an external argument, which, T^-ithout being 
conclusive, has a certain value; and which, if we are to 
believe the enemies of the evangelical churches, is altogether 
wanting to them, namely, antiquity of existence. You are 
but of yesterday, cries the Eomish chuix-h in a tone of 
ii'ony and triumph. You forsook the mother church by a 
revolution, which you pompously term a Eefonnation ; but 
if truth be on your side, it must be very modern. An 
existence of little more than thi^ee centuiies is a very recent 
title, when it relates to pretensions of i)rofessing eternal 
tmth. To dare a conflict with Eome, you require what 
she possesses, and what you are destitute of, an ancient and 
venerable origin. IS'ow, this attribute of the truth is not 
so completely wanting to the evangelical churches as might 
at first seem to be the case. The Yaudois chiuTh is a link 
that unites them to the primitive chui'ch. By means of it 
they establish the anterior existence of their constitution, 
doctrine, and worship, to that of the papistical idolatries 
and errors. Such is the object of the work we now lay 
before the public. It is intended to prove by the fact of 
the uninteiTuptcd existence of the Yaudois church, the 
perpetuity of the primitive church, represented in the 
present day not only by the church of the Yaudois valleys 
of Piedmont, but by all her sister evangelical churches, 
founded solely on the word of God. 

^ In wiiting this work on an essential part of ecclesiastical 
history, its author has had in view the glory of his Saviour. 
He considers that however humble and"^ despised these 


Yaudois may have been in the eyes of the world, forgotten 
by some, hated and persecuted by others, their history 
exhibits and presents to the imitation of "the faithful, some 
of the essential characteristics of the true disciples of Jesus 
Christ, faith, fidelity, humility, detachment from the world, 
perseverance and resignation under the most painful trials. 

He also believes that the development of this history 
will demonstrate the Lord's faithfulness to the humble 
members of his church, the "^dsdom of his plans and 
intentions in their favour, the power he puts forth when 
he purposes to deliver them, and the efficacious consola- 
tions he grants them under their trials. It will moreover 
show, he may venture to hope, that the Head of the 
church has fulfilled the j)romise he made that '^ the gates 
of hell shall not prevail against it," and that in this 
History of the preservation of evangelical truth in the 
midst of darkness, it may be perceived to His glory, that 
'' God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to 
confound the wise ; and God hath chosen the weak things 
of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 
and base things of the world, and things which are 
despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are 
not, to bring to nought things that are," 1 Cor. i. 27, 28. 

The author does not flatter himself that he has pro- 
duced a perfect work ; the subject was difficult, particularly 
in Avhat related to ancient times. The materials to be 
consulted were immense ; while continual concealment, 
partial judgments, and incomplete recitals veiled the 
truth at every step in Catholic writings. ^Nevertheless, 
he thinks that he has brought forward some new facts of 
great importance, and esjDecially that he has contributed to 
a satisfactory demonstration of the ancient origin of the 
Yaudois church. 

This has been a labour of love. A Yaudois by birth, 
by his affections, by all his associations, a Yaudois too, he 
trusts, by his faith, the author has devoted more than 
ten years to accomplish the wish of his life — the com- 
position of a brief History of the Yaudois 
In its preparation and arrangement, he has called in the aid 
of one of his dear sons, who is his constant assistant in his 
pastoral functions. 

May this little work contribute to the glory of our great 
God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ ! Amen. 


Dedication ^",7^ iii 

Peeface V 


CONSTANTINE. [a.D. 306.] 

The great progress of the gospel during the fii-st three centimes — Obstacles 
to its promulgation — The pure and lively faith of beUevers dm-ing that 
period — The primitive constitution of the chm-ch undergoes some alteration 
in the episcopate — Commencement of the liierarchy — Places and nature of 
puhUc worship — Alteration in reference to baptism and the Lord's supper — 
Internal dissensions — Heresies — The pui-e faith triumphant — Sects . 1 



A glance at the preceding state of the church— The peace it enjoyed opened 
the door for alterations — Arianism — Pelagianism — Dissensions and la- 
mentable consequences — Constantine's protection of the chm-ch baneful — 
Fatal to the clergy fi-om the snares of wealth — The church sinks by its de- 
pendence on the emperor— He elevates the episcopate— The bishop of Rome 
— The numerous converts from paganism bring their superstitions with 
them into the chm-ch — The new ceremonies become estabhshed on the inva- 
sion of the Ijarbarians — The authority of the Holy Scriptures weakened — 
Doctrines modified and altered— Introduction of the mass and many errors 4 




This opposition is manifested— From what quarter first — Noticed by pope 
Celestru in Gaid— Shows itself in Lombardy in the instance of Vigilantius — 
Continued in France, under Serenus— In Germany — Epistle of Zachai-y— 
Reflections — Opposition against images under Charlemagne — Episcopate 
of Claude of Tm-ui — Notice of Claude— Passages from liis writmgs— Cha- 
racter of his ministry — Effects of it in the Vaudois vaheys — Considerations 
in support — Testimonies 9 



Traces of continued conflict— State of society in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh 
centmies— The clergy, absorbed by worldly interests, encroach on the civil 
power, and neglect spu-itual interests — Their errors and ignorance— Pro- 
gress of superstition — Rome and the chm-ch a prey to anarchy— State of the 
eleventh century— Rome, and its eflorts to raise and to extend its power — 




Small number of the Vaudois — Reduced to conceal themselves or to dissemble 
— When at the worst, the Reformation begins — Glance at the Reformation — 
Eagerness of the Vaudois to gain information respecting it— Martm of the 
vale of Lucema — Morel of Merindol, and Masson of Burgundy in Switzer- 
land and Germany — A document wliich gives an account of the state of the 
Vaudois — Advice asjied— Affecting and kind reply of QEcolampadius— Bucer 
and Capito visited — Sympathy and agreement of the reformers with the 
Vaudois — Return of the two Vaudois— Masson a martyi- — Answer of the 
reformers carefully examined — Synod of Angrogiia in 1532, to dehberate 
upon it— Decision of the Synod — Decision on the public service — all dissimu- 
lation branded — Disagreement — Relation between the Vaudois and the 
churches of Bohemia and Moravia Fage 136 



Renewal of persecution in Provence— of Bersour in Piedmont — Martyr — Ces- 
sation of the persecution — Martin Gonin a martyr — The first French Bible 
printed at Neufchatel, at the expense of the Vaudois — Zeal for Divine ser- 
vice in pubhc— The use of the French langnage instead of the Vaudois — 
Occuijation of Piedmont by France rather favourable to the Vaudois cause 
— Complamts of Belvedere— Persecution of the Vaudois of Provence — Their 
final destruction — Tranquil state of the Vaudois of Piedmontr— Temples built 
in the valleys— Sever ai martjrrs at Chambery — Danger incun-ed l^y two 
pastors — Several pastors arrive in the valleys — A challenge and discussion 
— Attempts of the parhament of Turin against the Vaudois — Baronius — 
Sartohe and VaraUle martyi's— a tliird escapes— New menaces against the 
Vaudois without effect — Measures in. their favour 150 



Return of the Vaudois under the rule of Savoy — Emmanuel — Phihbert pul)hshes 
a persecutmg edict in 1560 — The inquisition active in the plain — Martyrs at 
Carignan, Meane, Barcelonette — Measures taken by the Vaudois — Cruelties 
— The duke's commissioners to the valleys — The monks of Abbadie and 
their victims — Momentaiy concession of the duke — Mission of Poussevin — 
Pubhc disputation — Final measui^es— Preparations for defence — The count 
La Trinite comes to the vaUeys with an army — Has recom'se to a stratagem 
— Removes the notables — Increasing oppression — Alhance with the vaUey of 
Clusone — the Vaudois attacked again and again in their refuge of Pra-di-torre 
always conquerors — Truce— Signing of the treaty of peace — Basis of the 
future relations of the Vaudois to their sovereign 170 



State of the colonies — Influence of the Reformation — Request for a pastor from 
Geneva — Mission and success of Pascal — Persecution— Svu^Diises— Horrible 
punishments — Total destruction of the colonies— Martyrdom of Pascal 203 



The valleys relieved in their disti'css — Annoyances on the part of the priests- 
Unjust order— Intrig-ues — The valleys mider the governor Castrocaro— Em- 
iDassies from the princes of the Palatinate and Saxony — Persecution in the 
marquisate of Saluzzo— St. Bartholomew — Attack on the valley of Perosa 


—Death of the good duchess Marsraret — Eeisn of Charles Emmanuel— The 
valleys imder French dominion— Then- return to that of Savoy — Means em- 
ployed to bring over the Yaudois to poper^'— The exiles — Mai-t\Tdom of 
Coupia — The Yaudois mihtia ia the field— Fiiie, on accoimt of cemeteries — 
The valley of Perosa occupied by the duke's troops — Secret practices of the 
inquisition— Abduction of children— The Yaudois on their fi'ontiers — Ineffec- 
tual attempt to estabhsh the monks and the mass in the Yaudois conununes 
— Invasion of Piedmont by the French— A dreadful plague carries off half 
the population Fage 210 



Unjust complaints against them — Letters patent refused — Complete and final 
expulsion of the Yaudois from the valley of the Po— Disputation with the 
priests — Plan for the Propagation of the Faith and the Extirpation of Here- 
tics— Strokes ready to faU discovered in. time 2^ 



Expulsion of the Yaudois from the plain of Lucema — The Piedmontese army 
in the valleys — Massacres — Heroic conduct of Janavel— The Yaudois under 
arms — Truce — Embassy from the Swiss evangehcal cantons — Pleasures of 
Great Britain and other Protestant powers — Collections — Conferences at 
Pignerol— Mediation of France — Signing of the treaty .... 262 


PEBSECUTiox a:nt) emigbatio^". [1656—1686.] 

Erection of the fort of La Torre — Yexations committed by the garrison — Con- 
demnation of the distinguished Yaudois — Order for the cessation of aU reli- 
gious services at San Giovanni — Resistance of the Synod — Leger condemned 
to death— De Bagnols — The exiles — An army surjOTses San Giovanni — Ge- 
nerosity of the Yaudois — Defeat of the army — Mediation of France — Pro- 
ceedings of the evangehcal cantons— Conference — Charter of 1664, denomi- 
nated that of Turin — Arbitration of Louisxrr. — Peaceful times — Revocation of 
the edict of Nantes —Requirement of the king of France — Edict for the abo- 
Ution of evangehcal worship — Emljassy of the Swiss cantons — Pi'oject of 
emigi'ation — Indecision of the valleys — Attacks upon them by Catinat and 
the army of Savoy — Submission of the Yaudois —Their imprisonment — • 
Leidet a mai-tyi*- Negotiations of the cantons for the release of the prisoners, 
and their departure for Switzerland — State of the Yaudois in thefortresses — 
Their travelling in the depth of water, and their arrival at Geneva . 292 



Their arrival at Geneva — Distribution in Switzerland — Project and first attempt 
for returning to the valleys — Offers of the elector of Brandenburg and the 
German princes — Hem-i Amaud — Second attempt — Departure of the Yaudois 
for Brandenburg, the Palatinate, and Wirtemberg — Retiun of the greater 
part to Switzerland — Third attempt— The Yaudois having assembled in the 
wood of Prangins, cross the lake — Enter Savoy— Defeat an armed force at 
Salabertrand— Enter victoriously into then- valleys — Difficulties of their 
situation — Cruel measure — The Yaudois masters of the upper valleys attack 
that of Lucema — Conquerors, afterwards repulsed — Retire to the heights — 
Desertions — Forced successively, they take refuge in BalsUle — Attacked in 
vain before winter — Providential supply — Sufferings— Attempt at negotia- 
tion — Attack of Balsille—Siesre— Wonderful flight — Good news— Peace — Re- 
turn of the prisoners— Bobbio restored to the Yaudois — Amaud before the 
duke — Address of Yictor Amadeus — Yaudois in the service of the duke — 
B«tum of the scattered Yaudois to their vaUeys 329 



REVOLUTION, [1690—1814.] 

The Vaudois under the banners of their prince— Their re-estaljhshment in 
their heritages - Their numbers— Edict of 1694— Exile of the French Protes- 
tants domiciled in the valleys— Colonies of Wirtemberg— Death of Amaud 
— Attempts at oppression — Intermission — Foreign subsidies — Siege of Turin 
in 1706— Victor Amadous in the valleys— Devotedness of the Vaudois- New 
vexations — Expulsion of the Vaudois from Pragela — The French and those 
who had become Catliohcs — Edict of 20th June, 1730— Summary of the edicts 
concerning the Vaudois— Eifects of the French revolution — Guard of the 
frontiers by the Vaudois — Unjust suspicions of their fidelity — Project of a 
massaci-e rendered abortive — Ai-rests — Petition to the king — Shght favours — 
Revolutionary spu-it in Piedmont— Aljdication of Charles Emmanuel— New 
state of the Vaudois— The Austro-Russians in Piedmont— Carmagnola — 
Wounded French — Bagration— Re-union of Piedmont to France — Misery to 
the valleys — Distress of the pastors — Allotment of rents, and funds for tlieir 
use — New consistorial arrangement — Earthquake — Sketch of the rehgious 
state of the Vaudois— MM. Mondon, Geymet, and Peyran — New field opened 
for the activity of the Vaudois Page 378 



The restoration— Conduct of the valleys in 1814 and 1815— Deception— Edict 
which replaced them in their ancient condition— Measures taken in conse- 
quence—Temple of San Giovanni — Question of the revenues of the Romish 
clergy— Salaries allowed to pastors— Pastoral letters of the bishops of 
Pinerolo — Charles Felix— Charles Albert — Cessation of abuses— Restrictions 
— Foreign benefactors of the Vaudois— Frederic William iii.— Count deWal- 
burg— Evangehcal chapel at Turin— Foundation of two hospitals for the 
valleys— Collections — Fimds formed at Berlin — EngUsh benefactors — College 
of La Torre— Schools — Walloon Committee— Swiss cantons— Erection of the 
convent of La Torre— Anxieties in the valleys— Visit of Charles Albert to his 
subjects 412 



Pieces given in the Appendix to the original work— The Three Catalogues 
— The Noble Lesson 427 

A Geographical and Statistical Description op the Valleys of 
Piedmont — Geography 428 

The Valley of San Martino— The Half Valley of Perosa— The Valley of 
Lucema 430 


Population— Climate and productions— Rehgious administration of the 
Vaudois valleys . . , 431 






IsoT three centimes from the death and resiuTection of the , 
Saviour had passed away, before the good news of salvation \ 
through him was spread over all the pro^THces of the \ 
Roman empire, and received Avith joy by a considerable 
part of their population. Faith in Jesus, the Son of the 
living God, was proclaimed from the shores of the Red sea 
to those of the Atlantic ocean ; fr^om the banks of the Xile 
to those of the Ebro, the Rhone, the Rhine, the Danube, 
and the Euphrates; in all the countries washed by the 
waters of the ]y!editeiTanean, even to the most retired 
valleys of the Iberian mountains,^' of the Alps, Hemus, 
and Atlas, and especially through all the cities that were 
scattered over this immense tract. 

The gradual extension of the Christian religion was not 
accomplished without conflict and suifering on the part of 
its professors. Its progress fii'st irritated, and then 
alarmed, those who were attached to national traditions, 
dissolute manners, and the worship of false gods, as it did 
the suspicious and tjTannical government of the Roman 
emperors. The Christians were very soon regarded as 
enemies of their country and rebels, and as such were 
exposed to the most terrible pei^ecutions. Thousands and 
hundreds of thousands were destroyed by fire and sword, 

* pSTamely, the Pj-renees and their oflfshoots.] 



by instruments of torture, and by the fangs of wild beasts 
in the amphitheatres. But as the grain of corn falls into 
the ground and increases a hundredfold, so the blood of the 
martyi^s became the seed of the church ; the faith of 
Christian confessors spoke to the heart, and won more 
souls to the service of their Lord than the terrors of punish- 
ment could drive from him. 

During the first three centuries, the church was com- 
posed, for the most part, . of persons firmly convinced of 
the truth of its doctrines, and who showed forth, by a 
pure, holy, and devoted life, the virtues of Him who had 
called them out of darkness into his marvellous light. 
The contempt and hatred with which the Christians were 
treated by the pagans, preserved them in general from a 
pernicious alliance "svith the vicious and indifferent ; and by 
breaking the ties which might have held them fast to a 
seducing world, purified their faith, and united them more 
closely to one another, and to their Saviour. 

The constitution of the church remained nearly the same 
as in the apostolic age.^'* Every believer was an active 
member of the Christian community, which was under the 
guidance of one or more pastors, whose special ofiice it was 
to preach the word, and watch over souls. The pastor of a 
Christian community, or one of them, if there were several 
pastors, bore also the particular title of Bishop, that is, 
Overseer, on account of the inspection which it became him 
to exercise over all the members of his fiock, and the influ- 
ence that was conceded to his piety and example. But 
though this distinction exposed its possessor to greater 
danger in times of persecution, it is evident that many of 
those who obtained it did not entirely escape the seductions 
of pride and ambition. The pastors of the larger churches 
soon obtained, or preferred, the title of bishop to that of 
elder, and easily assumed a supremacy over their fellow- 
labourers in the work of the ministry. The fi'aternal 
connexion that subsisted between the apostles and the 
companions of their work, as that of St. Paul with Sylvanus 
and Timothy, was very soon succeeded by a dangerous 

* [A few passages in the first and second chapters, and other places, relating 
to the early constitution of the church, its officers, rites, and connexion with 
civil governments, which, accorchng to the rules oftheRehgious Tract Society, 
are retained without alteration, must be regarded as containing the individual 
\'iews of the author.] 


hierarchy. Still, the injuiy which this tenclencj- might 
have inllicted on that Chi'istian libert}- and brotherhood 
wliich were then so conspicuous, was considerably lessened 
by the individual activity which the difficult position of the 
chuix'h, in the midst of pagans, imposed on each of its 

Another danger, arising fi*om within, also tlu-eatened the 
constitution and life of the church, in this prosperous period 
of its existence, namely, the pre-eminence acquired by the 
bishops of Antioch, Alexandria, Carthage, and Eome, over 
the other bishops, and the ill use they often made of the 
deference that was yielded to them by courtesy. The 
bishop of Eome especially took the precedence of all the 
other bishops, on many occasions, and even aspu-ed to a 
certain authority in matters of religion. But these preten- 
sions encountered resistance in the rivalry of other apostolic 
or metropolitan churches, and in the independent nature of 
the Christian life. 

The Christian worship preserved its primitive simplicity. 
It was held in private houses ; and often in secret or in 
deserts. Some places of worship, however, had been 
erected at the close of the third centuiy. Prayers, the 
singing of hymns, reading the Scriptui-es, preaching, and 
the celebration of the Lord's supper, were the ordinary acts 
of divine service. The Christians, who had mtnessed the 
pompous ceremonial of j^aganism, and regarded idolatry 
with detestation, excluded all images from their places of 
meeting, and every idle ceremony from their worship. 
Nevertheless, some observances, such as the use of white 
vestments, unction, and the presence of sponsors, were in- 
troduced at the administi^ation of baptism; and the holy 
supper, celebrated in remembrance of those who had died 
in the Lord, and as a sign of perpetual communion ^dth 
them, sometimes degenerated into a ceremony for their 
su2^posed advantage. 

In relation to doctrine, the chiux-h had ah*eady to sustain 
severe contests both without and within : without, against 
the attacks of pagan philosophers and Jews : but especially 
within, against the erroi*s that were often propagated by 
men of piety, who were under the influence of some invete- 
rate notion, some peculiar opinion, not in conformity with 
the true faith, according to the belief of the church. Prom 

B 2 


being isolated partisans of a new doctrine, they rapidly 
became leaders of a sect, by the impression which their 
talents, powers of persuasion, and the very singularity of 
their sentiments, made on men whose turn of mind, dis- 
positions, and circumstances, were similar to their own. 
But diversities of doctrine, heresies, and the formation of 
sects within the pale of the visible church, ought not to 
astonish those ^v]lo are aware that an ardent imagination, 
the pride of reason, and particular prejudices, prevent men 
from seeing the truth; and that the profession of the 
gospel has not alwaj^-s eradicated these unhappy disposi- 
tions from persons who, wishing ''to be something," cannot 
consent to be classed among ''the poor in spirit." 

Let us not be smprised, then, that the Cliristian church 
of the first three centuries had to defend the truth against 
heresies brought forth and nourished in her bosom : let us 
only rejoice in her victories ; for invigorated from on high 
by her Divine Leader, to whom she applied with coniidence 
in all her sorrows and conflicts, no less than in the days of 
her prosperity, she retained, in the faith and love that are 
in Christ Jesus, the form of sound doctrine ; she kept that 
good thing which was committed unto her. 

The formalism and asceticism of the Ebionites ; the 
efforts of the Gnostics to transport the agitated soul beyond 
the natural limits of this world, their pretensions to ex- 
plain everything, and their ambitious sj)eculations, gave 
way, like the dualism of the Manicheans, to the power of 
simple faith in Jesus Christ, and of the Christian life 
which it supports. Reduced to the state of mere sects, 
they served as beacons, to warn believers of the danger of 
wandering beyond the limits that are fixed by the written 



A.D. 337.] 

The germs of numerous errors may be detected in the ^^re- 
ceding period, but they were checked and arrested in their 
progress ; on the one hand, by the abundance of healthy, 


vigorous, and fn.iitfLil plants which covered the soil of 
the chui-ch, and on the other, by the little time and space 
which incessant persecutions allowed to perverse or am- 
bitious spirits for the formation and propagation of their 

But no sooner was a season of external peace granted to 
the church, along ^vith numerous temporal advantages, than 
the Christian Kfe, sound doctrine, and di^dne worship were 
deteriorated. Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, about the 
year 318 or 321, put forth a system of doctrine which goes 
to shake the veiy foundations of the gospel, by denpng the 
divinity of Christ, and regarding him only as the first and 
most excellent of created beings. From its first rise, this 
heresy, which reduces the faith of the gospel to a very in- 
considerable thing, and sets the mind of man at ease, was 
welcomed by many with enthusiasm. Condemned at the 
council of Xice (a.d. 325), victorious under Constantius, 
combated afi'esh and with success by those who remained 
faithfal to the apostolic doctrine, it nevertheless saw its 
principles adopted by numerous sections of the church. 
Professed in succession by the Yisigoths, Tandals, Suevians, 
and Burgundians, it invaded Italy, Greece, Gaul, Spain, 
and Africa. 

Besides many other errors, which cannot be here enume- 
rated, there arose one, in the year 412, of which the eff'ects 
were scarcely less deplorable than those of Arianism. This 
was the doctrine of Pelagius, a British monk, on fi^e ^vill,\ 
which ascribed to every man the liberty [power] of deter- ;1 
mining himself for good, as easily as for evil, and saw in 
the dominion of sin nothing more than a habit fi*om which 
the will could release itself. This docti^ine, by attributing 
too much power to man, and denying his inability to efi'ect 
his own salvation, nullified, or at least greatly impaii-ed, 
the doctrine of redemption by Jesus Christ, disowned 
regeneration, and presented sanctification in a false light. 
This system, a little modified, and with something more of 
a Christian colouiing, obtained many partisans, in spite of 
the powerful opposition of Augustin, bishop of Hippo ; and 
the merit of good works, which it favoui'ed, insensiblywas 
received into the belief of a great many churches, especially 
in the east and in France. 

Endless disputes, and deplorable conflicts, in the majority 


of churches, and between different churches, were the result 
of all these novel doctrines. It is almost needless to add, 
that true faith necessarily declined, continually showed less 
vigour, and was everywhere more uncommon. 

One great event exerted a powerful influence on the 
destinies of the church, namely, the protection which an 
emperor, Constantino the Great, granted to the Christians, 
and the position in which he placed Christianity, by sub- 
stituting it for paganism, and declaring it to be the religion 
of the state. Though certain advantages, such as liberty 
of worship, and freedom from persecution, were gained for 
the Christians by this event, yet it cannot be denied that 
great evils followed in its train. 

Favoured by the emperor, put in possession of the pagan 
temples, and of the honours and credit formerly granted 
to the priests of idolatry, and loaded with wealth, the 
bishops were soon assailed by all the temptations of ambi- 
tion, of the love of the world, and of power. Every func- 
tionary of the church, treading in the same path, saw his 
own consideration increased by the external advantages 
thus held out, and, like his superiors, was eager to grasp 
them. The distinction between the ecclesiastics and lay 
members became more established. The dignitaries of the 
church adopted a particular costume. Simplicity and 
humility gave place to vanity, ambition, and pride, and 
the ecclesiastical profession was entered by numbers for 
the sake of the temporal advantages that were attached to 

Another great evil, also, which resulted from the new 
position in which the church was placed by the emperor's 
protection, was this protection itself. For to accept a pro- 
tector, is just so far to acknowledge dependence upon him.f 
Men think they have obtained a stay and defence, and find 
themselves oppressed by a yoke. The Christian church 
soon perceived this to be the result. The emperors inter- 

* To understand how the power of the episcopate estabhshed and settled 
itself, and how such a hierarchy as that of the Roman Cathohc clnu'ch was 
organized, we refer the reader to Beugnot and A. de Saint-Priest, who explain 
in what way, after the jiatronage granted to the chm-ch by Constantine, the 
patrician body by degi-ees usmiied the episcopate, thus confii-mmg its pre- 
eminence in the chui'ch and in the state, and laying the foimdations of the 
[Roman] Catholic hierarchy. (Vide Semem-, t. xiv.. No. 33, pp. 258—261.) 

t Another most lamentable consequence of such protection is, that men are 
impelled to uphold by carnal weapons what is to be propagated and defended 
only by spiritual means, siich as the faith, etc. 


fered in the choice of the metropolitan bishops, seciu'ed 
their submission, and on more than one occasion, by means 
of their numerous dependents, influenced the decisions of 
the councils. 

In return for the advantages which the emperors derived 
from the submission of the bishops of Eome, we find that 
they supported the pretensions of the latter to pre-eminence 
over all other bishops, and facilitated their success. Ev 
their assistance, the bishops of Eome obtained a general 
recognition of their title, and their claim to be the popes, 
or fathers of Christendom. 

The public services of the church, likewise, were affected 
by this substitution of Christianity for paganism as the 
state-religion. The worshippers of idols, who, yielding to 
the force of events, made a profession of the gospel, brought 
their superstitions with them into the chiu'ch. It was 
thought necessary to make some concessions to them. 
The temj)les were adorned ; recoiu'se was had to the mag- 
nificence and pomp of the ancient rituals, both Jewish and 
pagan, from which were borrowed emblems, images, statues, 
vestments, altars, sacred vases, and ceremonies.^* 

Upon every invasion of the barbarians, accessions were 
made to the ritual. It was imagined that these rude and 
ignorant tribes, the terror of the civilized world, and count- 
less as the trees of the forest, could not be softened by the 
simple preaching of the gospel, and that the only pacific 
means of inducing them to receive it was the ceremonial 
splendour of a pompous worship. 

In this manner, under the influence of a complication of 
causes, in a time of political troubles, which paralysed the 
minds and the efforts of the truly pious, (always few in 
number,) that idolatrous ritual which invaded the Latin 
or Eoman church, established and developed itself, and has 
been perpetuated to the present day. 

The authority of the holy Scriptiu^es was weakened by 
the intrusion of apocry][jhal books into the canon of inspired 
A^T.itings ; by the increasing importance and value attached 
to the opinions of the fathers, or ancient ecclesiastical 
^vriters ; by the pretensions of councils to fix the sense of 
the sacred text in an exclusive manner ; and, lastly, by the 

* The cross being adopted as a standard, quickly became an object of wor- 
ship, as his banner was for the Roman soldier. 


usurpation of spiritual power by the popes, in their pre- 
tended quality of successors of St. Peter and St. Paul. 

The foundations of the Christian faith having been dis- 
turbed, the doctrines of the church underwent continual 
modifications, and a ritual of man's devise supplanted the 
''worship of God in spirit and in truth." We shall not 
enter into the history of these changes ; they have only an 
indirect connexion with our narrative, that is, in conse- 
quence of the resistance made to them by the faithful. 
Eor enabling us to understand subsequent events, it will be 
sufficient to recollect that the worship of images was gene- 
rally introduced, and became an essential part of the 
Pomish religion. The mass, originally designed to com- 
memorate the sacrifice of the Saviour, gradually became 
itself a pretended sacrifice, though an unbloody one, of the 
body of Christ, for the remission of the sins both of the 
living and the dead. Twenty popes, probably, have contri- 
buted to form the canon of the mass, each one of them 
devising some new forms, some additions to its ceremonial. 
Having commenced so promising an undertaking, why 
should they stop short? Th3y proceeded to invent pur- 
gatory, indulgences, penances, vigils, fastings. Lent, dis- 
pensations, auricular confession, extreme unction, absolu- 
tion, and masses for the dead — all but so many means of 
entangling souls, and holding them in a fatal security, as 
well as of attracting to the church a tremendous authority 
and boundless wealth. 

Lastly, by the doctrine of the real presence of Jesus 
Christ in the sacrament of the supper, and the adoration 
of the host, the church fell back into idolatry. Composed 
of the ruins of Jewish formalism, pagan superstitions, disfi- 
gured fragments of the gospel, mixed with human specula- 
tions and reveries, the Latin Catholic, apostolic, and Poman 
church has for ten or twelve centuries been toiling to collect 
together, arrange, amend, and settle this strange medley, 
which she has decorated with the imposing title of one 
and infallible. 




The right patli of sound doctrine, the puiity and simplicity 
of the " life hidden with Christ," were not abandoned by 
the church without a long resistance from the sound part 
of its members. AMio can recount all the eiforts made to 
avert so great a calamity? A\Tio can tell all that was 
attempted to prevent such a shipwreck — to arrest this sad 
catastrophe? The documents which have come doAvn to 
us on this subject are very few; and they have reached us 
only through the medium of the dominant party. '^\'^e are 
reduced to glean on the field the few ears which they have 
failed to remove out of sight ; and often, it must be con- 
fessed, we have foimd the ground totally bare where we 
should have rejoiced to collect a sheaf. 

Resistance to the encroachments of error of all kinds 
often proceeded from the higher ranks of the church, but 
more fiTquently from the inferior orders. It was organized 
not only in the convocations of bishops, but also in the 
common assemblies of Christians, in the hearts of simple 
priests or humble la^Tnen. 

^ope Celestin i., writing to the bishops of Yienne and 
ISTarbonne, in France, between a.d. 423 and 432, complains 
of men having granted permission to foreign priests to 
preach as they pleased, and to agitate '' unlearned ques- 
tions,'" which introduced dissensions into the church.^' He 
aifects not to specify the object of his complaints; yet, 
from the conclusion^ of his letter, we learn that the point 
in question relates to the saints, and that the i^reachers he 
had in view were not favom^able to the eiTors in vogue on 
that head. '^ Yet," said he, ''we ought not to be asto- 
nished if they attempt such things towards the living, who 
endeavour to destroy the memory of our brethren who are 

* The snme pope, in a second letter to the same prelates, again denounces 
other priests who have not been brought up in the church, who came from 
some remote country -svith foreign manners, who understand the Scriptures 
according to the letter, who preach novel doctrines, and refuse penance (no doubt 
absolution) to the dying. (Delectus Actorum Ecclesise imiversahs, 1. 1. pp. 
181, 182.) 

B 3 


now at rest." Prom this language we maj^ infer that tlie 
Gallic chnrclies were not then favourable to images and the 
invocation of saints, and that a considerable number of 
priests courageously withstood the entrance of this false 

About the same time, toward the end of the fourth cen- 
tury, another fact, while it confirms what we have stated 
respecting the Gallic churches, shows also that in Lombardy 
there were believers who opposed the use of images, and 
other novelties. Vigilantius, a well-infonned man, though 
Jerome asserts the contrary, a native of Comminge, in 
Aquitaine, had exercised the functions of a priest at Bar- 
celona or its neighbourhood. During his travels in the 
east, he fell in with St. Jerome. This celebrated recluse 
in vain attempted to convince Yigilantius, and to bring him 
over to his opinions respecting relics, saints, images, and 
prayers addressed to them, tapers that were kept burning 
at the tombs, j)ilgrimages, fasts, the celibacy of priests, a 
solitary life, etc. Yigilantius remained immovable. On 
his return, this opponent of the new doctrines appears to 
have fixed himself in Lombardy, where he found a refuge, 
probably in the vicinity of the Cottian Alps.f Jerome 
himself gives us this information in one of his epistles to 
Eiparius : ''I saw, a short time ago," he says, '^that mon- 
ster Yigilantius. I would fain have bound this madman 
by passages of holy writ, as Hippocrates advises to con- 
fine maniacs ^^dth bonds; but he has departed — he has 
withdrawn — he has hurried away — he has escaped; and 
from the space between the Alps, where Cottus reigned, 
and the waves of the Adriatic, his cries have reached me. 
Oh infamous ! he has found, even among the bishops, 
accomplices of his wickedness. ";]: 

We see b}^ this passage, that the bishops of Lombardy 
approved of Yigilantius, and joined him in opposing the 
above mentioned errors. In Lombardy it would appear 
that many churches had, more or less, preserved sound 

The long and persevering resistance of one part of the 

* Delectus Actorum, etc., t. i. pp. 177, 178. 

t The Cottian Alps are to the north of Mount Viso, and among these the 
Vaudois valleys are situated. 

X Hieronymus ad Eiparium, contra Vigilantium, t. ii., p. 158, etc. 


church to the encroachments of the errors of the Romish 
chiu'ch, is unquestionable; for, at the close of the sixth 
century, we find that Serenus, bishop of Marseilles, had 
succeeded in banishing images fi'om his diocese. A\^e learn 
this fact from a letter of pope Gregory the Great, who was 
pope from a.d. 590 to 604: ''We have been apprised," 
he says, " that, animated by an inconsiderate zeal, you have 
broken in pieces the images of the saints, on the plea that 
they ought not to be adored. In truth, we should have 
entirely approved of your conduct, had you forhidden their 
heing adored ; but we blame you for ha^-ing broken them 
in pieces. . . . For it is one thing to adore a painting, 
and another to learn by its history the proper object of 

This letter shows, not only that the worship of images, 
and consequently several other deviations from sound doc- 
trine, had not yet entirely j)ervaded the chiux'h, but that 
the pious popes hesitated to recommend them under their 
most censurable form. 

Towards the middle of the eighth century, the struggle 
of the faithful against these errors still continued. AVe 
see it carried on between the French prelates and Boniface, 
the apostle of Germany. Claude Clement, Sidonius, Tir- 
gilius, Samson, and Aldebert at theii' head, reproached 
Boniface with jDropagating the following errors : — the 
celibacy of the priests; the worship of relics; the adoration 
of images ; the supremacy of the popes ; masses for the 
dead; purgatory, etc. For this reason, Eoman Catholic 
authors accuse them of heresy, and reproach Aldebert 
especially, for condemning as useless the imposition of 
hands, the sign of the cross, and other ceremonies afready 
adopted at baptism. 

The tenth epistle of pope Zachary to Boniface is so ex- 
plicit on the existence, in the chiu-ch, of a strong opposition 
to the encroachments of the Eomish ritual, aad of a different 
and more evangelical worship, that we cannot forbear citing 
it: — ''As for the priests," he says, "whom your fraternity 
report to have foimd {who are more numerous than the 
Catholics) wandering about, disguised under the name of 
bishops or priests, not ordained by Catholic bishops, who 
deceive the people, perplex and trouble the ministers of the 

* Delectus Actorum, etc., t. i., p. 4nl3. 


church, they are false vagabonds, adulterers, murderers, 
effeminate, sacrilegious h5q)ocrites, the greater j^art tonsured 
slaves who have fled from their masters, servants ofthede^T.1 
transformed into ministers of Christ, who live as they list, 
being without bishops, having partisans to defend them 
against the bishops, that they may not attack their irregular 
lives, who meet in separate assemblies, with persons that 
abet their proceedings, and exercise their erroneous minis- 
try not in a Catholic church, but in strange places, in the 
cellars of country-people, where their stupid folly may be 
concealed from the bishops."^' 

We do not think it necessary to clear the priests who are 
here spoken of from the charges of adultery and murder, 
sacrilege and hj^pocrisy. Every one knows that the writers 
of the llomish church have never spared injurious epithets 
and calumnies when their adversaries were concerned. It 
is enough that we have ascertained, by the letter even of a 
pope, the existence, in the eighth century, of priests and 
Christians united in religious assemblies who were not in 
subjection to the see of Rome. 

jS^or must we omit to notice the vigorous opposition 
that was made in the dominions of Charlemagne to the 
decisions of the second council of Nice, a.d. 787, in favour 
of the worship of images. These decisions, and others 
also on the sign of the cross, were rejected by the council 
of Frankfort, a.d. 794, in spite of the representations of 
the pope's legates. The prelates of the second council of 
jSTice having anathematized those who refused to worship 
images, Charlemagne observed, that, ''in so doing, they had 
anathematized and branded as heretics their o^vn fathers, 
and as they had been consecrated by them, their consecra- 
tion was null, and therefore they were not themselves true 

One of the most striking facts to illustrate the resistance 
made by the faithful church to the introduction of those 
errors of which Rome was the centre, is the episcopate of 
Claude of Turin. It is a beacon which illumines the night 
of those remote times, and reflects afar its brilliant and 
beautiful light. By its brightness we discern in the dis- 
tance the Yaudois valleys, where the sacred flame of the 

* Sacro-sancta Concilia, studio Pli. Labbei, t. v., col. 1519. 
t Dupin, Nouvelle BibUoth., etc., t. v., p. 148, 


gospel which Claude had revived and maintaiiied, continued 
to pimiy the heart, when the humid mists of the Eoman 
heresy had extinguished it in the ojDen country. 

Claude,* at fii'st chaplain of Louis le Debonnaii'e, while 
Charlemagne was still li"sdng, was nominated by Louis to 
CU; the bishopric of Turin, about the year 822, under the pon- 
tificate of Pascal I., who died May 13, 824, and adminis- 
tered in that diocese till 839, the time of his death, as it is 
believed. An eloquent preacher, and profoimdly conversant 
with the Scriptures, he exercised an active and successful 
ministry for seventeen years ; and what forms a most pro- 
minent feature in his labours, he banished all images from 
the basilicks [chiuThes]. Being censured b}' the abettors 
of a worship unknown to the primitive chui'ch, he ^vrote 
several books to refute his foreign opponents. These ^vritings 
are lost, with the exception of the fragments which have 
been preserved by his opponent, Jonas d' Orleans. Although 
incomplete and perhaps mutilated, they form a splendid 
testimony of the doctrine that was preached for seventeen 
years in the same countries where we fijid it, at a later 
period, professed by the Yaudois. The jDassages we are 
about to cite will prove that Jonas d' Orleans did not make 
too great a concession when he allowed that Claude had 
some knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. 

The work of Claude of Tui^in which Jonas d' Orleans, as 
well as Dungal, has thus preserved for us, is entitled, 
" Apologetic Eeply of Claude, Bishop, to the Abbot Theo- 

" I have received," he says, "by a certain country car- 
rier, {portitorem,) your epistle, full of prate and nonsense, 
in which you declare that you have been troubled, because 
a report has been spread to my discredit fi^om Italy thi'ough 
all Gaul, and even as far as Spain, that I preach in order 
to form a new sect, contrary to the rule of the Catholic 
faith, which is totally false ; but it is not strange if the 
members of Satan speak of me in this manner, since they 
called our Lord a seducer and demoniac. For I, who 
remain in the imity, (of the chiux-h,) and proclaim the 
truth, aim at forming no new sect ; but, as far as lies in my 

* Some account of Claude may be found in Maxima Biblioth., P. P., t. xvi., 
p. 139, etc. He was a Spaniard and not a Scotchman, as was Claude Clement, 
mentioned above [p. 11.]. 


power, I repress sects, schisms, superstitions, and heresies ; 
I have combated, overthrown, and crushed them, and, by 
God's assistance, I shall not cease to do so to the utmost. And 
since, .contrary to my wishes, I have been charged with the 
burden of a bishopric, and sent by the pious Louis, a son 
of God's holy church, and have arrived in Italy, I have 
found at Turin all the basilicks filled Avith execrable im- 
purities and images, contrary to the commands of the truth 
(of the gospel) ; and as I alone have overturned all these 
things that others adore, it is against me alone that they 
are embittered. Por this they have all opened their mouths 
to calumniate me ; and if the Lord had not been on my 
side, they would probably have devoured me alive. The 
prohibition so clearly expressed, Thou shalt not make unto 
thee the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that 
is in the earth beneath, etc., applies not only to the like- 
nesses of strange gods, but also to those of celestial beings, 
and whatever the human mind can invent in honour of the 

'' We do not pretend, say those against whom we defend 
the church, that the image we adore has anything divine, 
but we adore it with the respect due to that which it repre- 
sents. To this we rejjly : if the images of the saints are 
adored with a diabolical worship, my adversaries have not 
abandoned idols, but only changed their names. If, then, 
you draw or paint upon the walls the images of Peter, 
Paul, Jupiter, Saturn, or Mercury, these are neither gods, 
nor apostles, neither one nor the other are men ; the name 
is changed; but the error remains and continues always 
the same, inasmuch as they have an image of God deprived 
of life and reason, instead of images and animals, or, which 
is nearer the truth, instead of wood and of stone. 

''It deserves to be well considered, that if men ought 
not to adore and serve the works of God's hands, there is 
much stronger reason for not adoring or serving the works 
of men's hands, not even with the adoration due to those 
whom it is pretended they represent ; for if the image that 
you adore is not God, you ought by no means to adore it 
Avith the adoration offered to saints, Avho make no preten- 
sions to divine honours. 

"We ought, then, carefully to bear this in mind, that 
all those who pay diAdne honours, not only to visible 


imaf^es, but to any creature, whether celestial or terrestrial, 
spiritual or corporeal, and who expect from it the salvation 
which conies from God alone, are of that class whom the 
apostle describes as serving the creature more than the 

'* ^Miy do you humble and bow yourself before vain 
images ? "Why bend your body before idols that are with- 
out sense, terrestrial, and base? God has created you up- 
right, and while the animals are prone toward the earth, he 
would have you raise your eyes to heaven, and fix your 
regards on the Lord. Thither you must look ; thither you 
must lift uj) your eyes. It is on high that we must seek 
after God, that we may learn to wean ourselves from earth. 
Haise, then, your heart to heaven. ^Tiy prostrate yourself 
in the dust of death with the insensible image that you 
serve ? A\Tiy deliver yourself to the devil for it, and with 
it ? Keep the elevation in which you were bom ; maintain 
yourself such as God made you. 

'' But let us hear what the miserable followers of false 
religion and superstition say. It is in memory of our 
Saviour that we serve, honour, and adore the cross either 
painted or erected to his honour. jSTothing, then, pleases 
them in our Sa^-iour but that which pleased the impious, 
the opprobrium of his sufferings, and the ignominy of his 
death. They believe respecting him what the wicked 
believe, both Jews and pagans, who reject his resurrection, 
and only regard him as tortured, and who, in their heart, 
always tliink of him in the agony of his suffering, ^vithout 
thinking of what the apostle said, and without understand- 
ing that expression, ' Though we have known Christ after 
the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more,' after 
that manner. 

" Such persons must be told, that if they are disposed to 
adore every piece of wood that is cut in the fonn of a cross, 
because Christ was hung on the cross, that there are many 
other things that had a connexion with Christ in the days 
of his flesh, which are fitter objects of adoration. 

" In fact, he remained scarcely six hours suspended on 
the cross, while he passed nine months in the virgin's 
womb ; let us, then, adore virgins, because a virgin gave 
bii'th to Jesus Christ. Let us adore mangers, because soon 
after his birth he was laid in a manger ; let us adore old 


swaddling clothes, because lie was wrapped in such. Let 
us adore ships, because he often sailed in a ship ; he taught 
multitudes out of a ship ; he slept in a ship ; and was in a 
ship when he ordered his discijiles to cast out the net in 
which the miraculous draught of fishes was caught. Let 
us adore asses, because he entered Jerusalem mounted on 
an ass. Let us adore lambs, because it is written of him, 
* Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of 
the world.' But these abettors of unsound doctrine prefer 
eating the living lambs, and adore those painted upon walls. 
Let us adore lions, for it is written of him, ' The Lion of 
the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed.' Let 
us adore rocks, since, after being taken down from the 
cross, he was placed in a sepulchre hewn out of a rock ; 
and the apostle says of him, ' That rock was Christ.' But 
Clirist is called a rock, a lamb, a lion, figuratively, and not 
in a literal sense. Let us adore the thorns of the bramble, 
because a crown of thorns was placed on his head, during 
his passion. Let us adore reeds, because they furnished 
the soldiers with an instrument for striking him. Lastly ; 
let us adore spears, because one of the soldiers pierced his 
side with a spear, and out of it there came blood and 

''AH this is ridiculous; and we would much rather 
lament it, than write it. But we are obliged to answer 
fools according to their folly, and to hurl against hearts of 
stone, not the darts or maxims of the word, but missiles of 
stone. Be converted, ye prevaricators, who have with- 
drawn yourselves from the truth, and who love vanity, and 
have become vain ; Avho crucify the Son of God afresh, and 
expose him to open shame ; who have thus led a multitude 
of souls to become associates of demons, and who, turning 
them away from their Creator, by means of your detestable, 
sacrilegious images, have cast them down, and precipitated 
them into eternal damnation. 

'' God commands one thing, and these jDeople do another. 
God commands to bear the cross, not to adore it. These 
persons would adore it, while they bear it neither cor- 
poreally nor spiritually. To serve God in this manner is 
to forsake him. He has said himself, ' Whosoever will 
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, 
and follow me ;' doubtless because he who docs not renounce 


himself, does not approach to Him who is above him, and 
he cannot seize that which passes by him, if he has not 
learned in good time to distinguish it. 

" But as to your saying, that I prevent men from going 
en pilgrimage to Rome, in order to do penance there, you 
accuse me falsely. For I do not approve [nor disapprove]^- 
of that journey, because I know that it does not injure all, 
nor profit all.^ I wish, in the first place, that you would 
ask yourself, if you acknowledge that to go to Eome is 
doing penance, why, for so long a time, have you danmed 
so many souls whom you have kept in your monastery, and 
have even received to do penance there, obliging them to 
serve you, instead of sending them to Rome ? You say, in 
fact, that you have a huncbed and forty monks, that have 
all come to you to do penance, who have devoted them- 
selves to the^ monastery, and not one of whom have you 
allowed to go to Rome. If it be so, that men must go to 
Rome to do penance, and yet you have prevented them, 
what will you say to this declaration of the Lord, ' AYhoso 
shall ofi'end one of these little ones which believe in me, it 
were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his 
neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.' 
There can be no greater ofi'ence than to hinder a man from 
following a road that may conduct him to eternal happiness. 

" We well know that this sentence of the gospel is very 
ill understood : ' Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I vdll 
build my chiuxh ; . . . and I will give unto thee the keys 
of the kingdom of heaven.' On account of these words of 
the Lord, an ignorant multitude, neglecting all spiritual 
understanding, persist in betaking themselves to Rome, in 
order to obtain eternal life. He who properly understands 
the keys of the kingdom of heaven, does not seek for the 
local intercession of St. Peter. In fact, if we examine the 
force of our Lord's words, he did not say to St. Peter alone, 
' AMiatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in 
heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be 
loosed in heaven.' In truth, this ministry belongs to_ aU the 
true inspectors and pastors of the church, who exercise it as 
long as they are in tliis world ; and when they have paid the 
debt of death, others succeed in theii- place, and enjoy the 

* [Nee approbo, nee improbo.— Gieseler, vol. ii., § 1, p. 102, 4tli ed. ; Band. 
ii.j Abtheilimg i.] 


same authority and power. You may add the example of 
David, ' Instead of thy fathers shall be thy childi-en, whom 
thou mayest make princes in all the earth.' 

" Return, blind mortals, to your light ! Return to Him 
who ' lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' This 
' light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended 
it not.'^' Hearken every one of you, who, not seeing or not 
regarding the light, walk in darkness, and know not whither 
you go, because that darkness has blinded your eyes ; foolish 
men ! who, by going to Rome, seek the intercession of the 
apostle, hear what St. Augustine says, in his ninth book on 
the Trinity. Come with me and consider why Ave love the 
apostle. Is it on account of his human countenance, which 
we well know ? Is it because we believe that he was a 
man ? ]^o, certainly ; for then we should no longer have 
anything to love, since the man exists no longer ; his soul 
has quitted his body. But we believe that what we loved 
in him still lives. If the believer must believe God when 
he promises, how much more when he swears and says, 
' Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in ' that town ; that is 
to say, if the saints whom you invoke were filled with a 
sanctity, a merit, and a righteousness as great as what 
those persons possessed, they should ' deliver neither son 
nor daughter.' And for this purpose he has declared it, 
namely, that no one may put confidence in either the 
merits or the intercession of saints ; since if he himself does 
not persevere in the faith, in the righteousness, and in the 
truth, in which they persevered, and by which they pleased 
God, he cannot be saved. As for you who seek the inter- 
cession of the apostle by a pilgrimage to Rome, hear what 
St. Augustine, so often quoted, f says against you. Hear 
this, ye perverse people ; fools as ye are ; take warning 
once more : ' He that planted the ear, shall he not hear ? 
He that formed the eye, shall he not see ? He that 
chastiseth the heathen, ... he that teacheth man know- 
ledge, shall not he know ?' 

"The fifth thing with which you reproach me is, that 
you are displeased because his apostolic lordship [dominus 

* This passage reminds us of the device on the escutcheon of the Vaudois 
and their lords, a lamj) hghted in the dark, with these words, — Lux lucet in 
tenehris : " The hght shineth in darkness." 

t This expression, " so often quoted," seems to indicate that the quotation 
from Claude, in Jonas d' Orleans, is incomplete. 


aposfolicus) Tras exasperated against me, (tliiis yon speak 
of the deceased bishop of Rome, Pascal,) and that he had 
honoured me with my appointment. Bnt since the term 
apostolic in some degree means the gnardian of an apostle, 
ha certainlj* is not to be called apostolic who merely occu- 
pies the apostle's seat, but he who fuiiiis the functions of 
the apostle. As for those who occupy that seat without 
fulfilling its duties, the Lord has said, ' The scribes and the 
pharisees sit in Moses' seat : all therefore whatsoever they 
bid you observe, that observe and do ; but do not ye after 
their works ; for they say, and do not,' "'^'' Matt, xxiii. 2, 3. 

This letter, if read attentively, clearly shows the Chris- 
tian and eminenth' evangelical character of Claude. We 
here see that the source whence he derived his courage and 
fidelity was the word of God ; and we may conclude, from 
the continual use made of the Scriptures in his writings, 
that he preachedf and circulated them in his diocese ; that 
he must have given a fresh impulse to the study of holy 
writ, prompted the ministers of religion to teach nothing 
but what it contained, and conducted the sheep that were 
entrusted to his care to the one heavenly Shepherd who 
could feed them, and save them for ever. 

It is easy to imagine the immense influence which such 
a man must have exerted during an episcopate of seven- 
teen years. And even if persons could succeed in proving, 
which is not possible, that his work was isolated, without 
antecedent preparatory circumstances, and without any 
remarkable ulterior consequences ; — if it could be shown 
that the bishops who followed him all laboured to destroy 
it, it would not be less certain that it once existed ; and the 
possibility, or rather the probability, will remain, that it 
was perpetuated after him in many hearts, in some parts, 
at least, of his vast diocese ; in the valleys of the Yaudois 
Alps, for example, which were less exposed than the open 
country to the sudden irruption of the papal authority. 

But this extravagant supposition of a ministration of an 
unusual character, is untrue and untenable. Claude was no 
innovator. His work was not isolated. All the accounts 
we have given of the resistance of the faithful church prove 

* Maxima Biblioth., P. P., t. x\d., col. 139—169, etc. 

t In doing so, he conformed to ttie decision of tlie council of Frankfort, a.d. 
794*, as any one may be convinced by a reference to its acts 


this. It was in the same, or the neighbouring countries, 
that Yigilantius had found a refuge among bishops who 
professed, like himself, a doctrine opposed to the worship 
of images and saints, to ceremonies at tombs, to pilgrim- 
ages, to fasts, to the celibacy of priests, and to a monastic 
life. Let us not forget that Serenus, on the other side of 
the Alps, at the beginning of the seventh century, accom- 
plished a work similar to that of Claude, in the diocese of 
Marseilles ; that in the eighth century many French prelates 
opposed the introduction of the same errors, and the altera- 
tions in doctrine that Boniface preached. And, lastly, it 
is to be remembered that the majority of the bishops in 
the wide domains of Charlemagne, of which Turin and 
Piedmont formed a part, resisted in the council of Frank- 
for (a.d. 794) the solicitations, prayers and orders of 
the pope's legates, and rejected the same worship of images 
which Claude banished from his diocese.-'' 

]^o ; the labours of the pious bishop were not isolated. 
At that very time, the conflict against the errors of Rome 
was vigorously carried on in diiferent countries ; and if the par- 
tisans of the worship of images had sometimes the victory, 
as it appears they had under the episcopate of Claude's pre- 
decessor, it was soon disputed, and often reversed. Father 
Pagi himself, in his " Chronological and Critical Abridg- 
ment of History," citing Dionysius of Padua, after having 
made some rather curious acknowledgments respecting the 
introduction of images, f and the pretended motives which 
justified it in the eyes of Poman Catholics, confesses, " that 
it is by no means proved that this (the introduction of 
images) prevailed in all places, nor in the same manner ; 
but it was effected in one place sooner, in another later, 
according to the ability and disposition of the people, and 
according as those who directed them judged it seasonable ;" 
— {expedire judicahant. ) \ 

* It is worthy of notice, that Agobard, archbishop of Lyon, shared entirely 
in the views ofhis contemporary Claude, as liis wiitings assert. (Vide Maxima 
BibUoth., P. P., t. xvi., col. 241, etc.) 

t He acknowledges " that in the first ages of Christianity the nse of sacred 
images was not frequent," (he ought to have said, "was not known;") he adds, 
" that the motive or reason for then- introduction was that they were regarded 
as a means of edification, and of spreading Christianity ; that their adoption 
was reasonable when the superstitious regard for idols, formerly concealed in 
the heart, was no longer to be feared." Not a word of the proliibition con- 
tained in the word of God against it. 

+ Breviarium historico-chronologicum, etc. R. P. Pagi, t. i., P. 521—524, 


But the very words of Claude, in Ms letter to the abbot 
Theodeniii', show us most clearly that the bishop of Turin 
merely carried on a work that had been already begun : '' I 
do not teach a new sect," he writes ; ^' I, who remam in the 
unity [of the chiu'ch], and proclaim the truth. But, as far 
as it depends on me, I have suppressed sects, schisms, 
superstitions and heresies ; I have combated, crushed, and 
overturned them; and, by God's help, I will not cease to 
overturn them to the utmost of my power." ^lio does 
not see, that in opposing the worsliip of images within his 
diocese, Claude believed that he remained in the unity of 
the church ; that he was defending the truth— the ti'uth 
that was still known and revered ? Who does not see, that 
in reforming abuses that were already inti-oduced, Claude 
wished to repress a sect, gaining ground, perhaps, but still 
a sect, to combat schism,— to ariTst superstition and heresy ? 
The strong language that Claude employs to designate 
the partisans of image-worship, and the energy of his 
remonstrances, show us a man who rather attacks his 
enemy than defends Hmself ; so well guarded did he feel 
himself to be from danger by the mere strength of his posi- 
tion. The contempt with which he speaks of the preten- 
sions of Rome, and of the pope himself, ^^ whom he compares 
to the scribes and pharisees sitting in Moses' seat, is an 
index not only of his corn-age, but of his power. 

Lastly; what completes the demonstration that the 
laboui's of Claude were not those of an isolated innovator, 
without predecessors in the diocese itself, or beyond it, is, 
his complete success. The images were taken from all the 
basilicks, to the great annoyance, it is true, of those who 
exhibited them ; but without any serious opposition being 
raised from any quarter. It would even appear, that as he 
speaks only of their expulsion from the basilicks, the 
worship of images had not reached the country places, but 
only Turin, and perhaps the larger cities in the diocese. 
It is obvious, that a work accomplished with scarcely any 
opposition, in a wide tract of coimtry, supposes the mass of 
the clergy and the church to be in its favoui' ; and if we 
recoUect that Claude fiUed the bishopric for at least fifteen 
years, we must be convinced that his zeal and fidelity, 

* It may be inferred that the title of Fope was not then prevalent, or Claude 
would not have failed to make some aUusion to it. 


seconded by an intelligent and devoted clergj^, by the love 
of the believers and the conscience of the people, mnst have 
given an impnlse to the cause of sound doctrine and the 
Christian life, which could not be checked all at once. 

It may not be uninteresting to add to the foregoing the 
testimony of a modern Piedmontcse author: " Be that as 
it may," he tells us, ''this bishop of Turin, a man of 
eloquence and austere manners, had a great number of 
partisans. These persons, anathematized by the pope, and 
persecuted by the lay princes, were chased from the open 
country, and forced to take refuge in the mountains, where 
they have kept their ground from that time, always checked, 
but always endeavouring to extend themselves."^' 



The episcopate of Claude of Turin seems, at the first 
glance, to be the last striking instance of the opposition of 
the sound part of the Christian church to the encroachments 
of the errors that were propagated in the west. In fact, 
from Claude of Turin to the writings of the Yaudois, that 
is to say, from the first half of the ninth century to the 
commencement of the twelfth, the history of the faithful 
church offers but few prominent and well-ascertained facts ; 
yet it is not entirely destitute of them. Intelligent study 
and conscientious investigation bring to light scattered facts 
which at first seem like traces half effaced, but in which 
we soon recognise the vestiges of a church oppressed but 
always militant. These facts, impressed on the course of 
the world, at unequal intervals, and often in different 
places, converge towards a centre, and lead us back to 
countries in which we shall shortly find an evangelical 
church, exhibiting a mature Christian life, according to the 
doctrine of the apostles. 

It is here necessary to take a survey of this epoch. 

The end of the ninth, the whole of the tenth and eleventh 

* M^moires Historiques, par le marquis Costa de Beauregard, t. ii., p. 50. 


centuries, \rere times of incessant trouble ; an epoch when 
a new social system, was gradually rising on the ruins of 
the old, which had been overtiu^ned by a succession of 
calamities. The invasions of the Goths, Franks, Lombards, 
and all the ferocious hordes of the north, designated by the 
general name of barbarians, had been checked. The "vic- 
torious sword of Charlemagne had diiven them back to the 
frontiers. But the efforts of this great prince to reconsti- 
tute society on a solid basis, had only a momentary success. 
On his decease, interminable wars began afresh, under his 
sons and their successors, between the old and new popula- 
tion of his vast empire. The maritime invasions of the 
!N^ormans and the Saracens aggravated the general con- 
fusion. The elements of ancient civilization, though feeble 
and exhausted, still combated against the vigorous elements 
of the turbulent and savage life of the barbarians. 

From this chaos a new social system arose, or rather 
society reconstructed itself in a new form, the feudal 
system. On all sides, society, after being shattered in 
pieces, was forming itself anew in a multitude of small, 
obscure, isolated, rival societies, obejing their chiefs, the 
lords of the soil, who were linked to one another by the 
complicated relations of suzerain and vassal. 

In the conflict of aims which marked these times, the 
clergy were not forgetful of their temporal interests. The 
bishops and abbots also sought to emancipate themselves 
fi'om the civil power. They desired to combine with their 
spii'itual authority the civil juiisdiction over the cities and 
rural districts of their dioceses and parishes. In a word, 
they claimed the power, the rank, and the honours of lords, 
counts, and princes of the empii-e ; and they gained their 

But it will be easily comprehended that such ambitious 
projects impelled the clergy to a life of worldly agitation, 
military enterprises, intrigues, and passions, which diverted 
their attention fi'om the duties of piety, and of meditation 
on the truths of rehgion. The superior clergy aspired only 
to power, riches, and pleasiu-e. All their thoughts were 
bent on their proud pretensions, on luxury and worldliness. 
The inferior clergy, in their turn, became lax, and did not 
always preserve even a decent exterior. They were sunk, 
moreover, in the grossest ignorance. The monks, especially. 


became the instruments of knavery, and the encouragers of 
debauchery. The light of the gospel was hid under a 
bushel. Ileligion, akeady deteriorated by the controversj^ 
respecting images and the worship of saints, became conti- 
nually more obscure, and Avas at last reduced to gross 
superstition. In the tenth century these evils were at their 
height, so that it has justly been styled the iron age. 

During the Avhole of this period Rome was a prey to 
anarchy ; di\T.sion paralysed its force and activity. History 
shows us that the parties which existed in that city con- 
tended for the papal throne. The popes who were chosen 
spent their lives in defending their nomination, in com- 
bating their antagonists, and in strengthening their own 
party. But taking advantage of some favourable juncture, 
the vanquished party regained the ascendancy, chose a new 
pope, and deposed the old one, who often was imprisoned 
and put to death. The majority of the popes in these 
times were undeserving of any respect ; some were absolute 
monsters. Scandalous proceedings of the same kind dis- 
turbed most of the dioceses. 

The eleventh century resembled the preceding in its 
general features. The same spiiit of insubordination and 
corruption, of ambition, voluptuousness, and luxury in the 
superior clergy, prevailed ; •'' the same relaxation of manners, 
the same grossness in the inferior clergy and the convents ; 
among all classes an ignorance almost beyond belief. 

Nevertheless, some laudable efforts were made. Schools 
began to flourish about the year 1050 in Italy. Literature 
reappeared in France, after the example of Spain. The 
tendency of Rome, in this age, was to regain the ground it 
had lost in the preceding, and to bring under the papal 
authority not only the ecclesiastical power, the bishops and 
abbots, and even councils, but the political power likewise, 
kings and emperors. It is not oiu* present business to trace 
the history of those encroachments which began to be made, 
in the ninth century, upon the Carlo\T.ngian race, and were 
carried to the greatest lengths in the eleventh century, by 
Hildebrand, against the unfortunate Henry iv., emperor of 
Germany : it is sufficient to state, that during the eleventh 
century, as was the case during the preceding and the end 

* It was about tliis time that councils had to fix the number of horses to be 
used by j)relates on then- journeys. 


of the ninth, the attention of the heads of the Koniish 
chiux'h was diverted from the scattered remnants of the 
faithful church, preoccupied as they were with their own 
temporal interests, and the dangers and advantages of their 
position, while the whole social system was dissolving, and 
about to be settled on a new basis. 

It will not be thought strange, that during this imhappy 
season of trouble and conflict, both political and ecclesias- 
tical, when scarcely an individual in the Latin church en- 
gaged in the conscientious search after evangelical truth, 
the documents essential for a history of the struggle of the 
faithfal church should be few and of very little service ; the 
struggle itself having everywhere ceased, and the truth, 
where it still existed, no longer being noticed or attacked, 
on account of the general preoccupation of men's minds 
with worldly interests. 

Having made these preliminar}- remarks, we proceed to 
examine the small number of documents known to us, which 
serve as distant landmarks to point out the Yaudois of the 
valleys of Piedmont, as successors and continuators of the 
primitive and faithful chui'ch. 

The reader will bear in mind all that has been said in the 
preceding chapter. We have seen that in the diocese of 
Turin, in a.d. 839, the year of the decease of its worthy 
bishop, the gospel was preached and professed in its purity, 
and with fideKty. 

The existence of a number (greater or less) of Christians, 
separated from Home, in the north of Italy, is clearly as- 
certained by the epistles of Hatto, who, in the year 945, 
held the diocese of Yercelli, situated between Turin and 
Milan. The letters of this bishop have been preserved. 
In some of them, he speaks of persons who had left the 
church, and describes them as being in the neighbourhood 
of his own diocese. The doctrinal and other points which 
he specifies as separating them from the church of which 
he was a bishop, appear to be those which were held by the 

These coincidences of place and doctrine are of great 
interest : they draw oiu' attention to those districts where 
Claude of Turin laboured as a faithful shepherd of Jesus 
Christ, and confii^m the fact that the little lamp of truth, 
once lighted in these parts, was never extinguished. 



The very words of Hatto sufficiently indicate, that the 
e^-il of which he complains was considerable, for he was 
sensible of it within his ovm diocese. Listen to one of his 
complaints: "Hatto to all the faithful of our diocese. 
Alas! there are mani/ among you who turn our sacred 
worship into ridicule ! Alas ! that these miserable offenders 
have separated themselves from our holy mother chiu'ch 
and the clergy, by whose means alone you can attain salva- 

This quotation proves, — 1. That these *' miserable of- 
fenders," as the bishop of Yercelli was pleased to call the 
remains of the faithful church, were separated from the 
holy mother church, and the clergy of that church ; that 
consequently their existence out »f that church was an ab- 
solute fact, of which we must take note: 2. That the 
effects of this existence of a Christian church, separate from 
the pretended holy mother church, had been felt even within 
the diocese of Vercelli ; and that the worship of saints, 
which had abeady been in much repute, as well as other 
vanities and errors, had received a check from that quarter ; 
which shows that the light which shone in the darkness 
was not so very faint. 

A passage from an author of the eleventh century may 
be considered as referring to the same subject. Pietro 
Damiano, Avriting in a.d. 1050, to Adelaide, countess of 
Savoy (of Susa properly) and duchess of the Subalpines,f 
complains that the clergy in the domains of this princess 
did not observe the ordinances of the church. J 

The chronicle of the monastery of St. Thron, in Belgium, 
written by the abbot Radulph, or Eodolph, between a.d. 
1108 and 1136, contains a most important article. The 
chronicler, speaking of a country which he was anxious to 
visit when he should cross the Alps, on his way to Eome, 
describes it as a country polluted by an inveterate heresy, 
respecting the body of our Lord : " Moreover, he heard 
that the land to which he had intended to travel was polluted 
Avith an inveterate heresy respecting the body and blood of 
the Lord."§ 

* Dacherii Spicilegium, t. viii., p. 110, as quoted by Dr. Gilly. 
t Piedmoiitese. 

X Opera Damiani, p. 566 ; Gilly's Researches, p. 88; Memoires Hist, par le 
marqms Costa cle Beaui-egard, I., p. iii. 
§ " Pra^terea terrain, ad quam ulterius disposuerat peregrinari, audiebat 

BRUNO d'asti. 27 

Tliis passage is important, as marking the locality of the 
heresy; it was a country {terram); and a country at the 
passage of the Alj)s, on the way to Rome. 'No doubt the 
designation is vague in one sense, but it is very precise in 
another,-^ in characterizing it as being in the Alps, or at 
the foot of the Alps ; a description wliich perfectly agrees 
with the Yaudois valleys. But more especially, this 
c-ountr}' is represented as '' polluted with an inveterate 
heresy," {polliitam esse inveteratd hceresi.) This reproach 
is of great importance for our object. It demonstrates that 
tliis heresy was of ancient date, as having had its seat in 
that country, from which it could not be expelled, for it 
was inveterate [inveterata). It proves that the heresy in 
this country was not confined to a few isolated individuals, 
but existed among the people in general, since the whole 
country was polluted {^"pollutani) with it. The point on 
which the passage is less precise, is the doctrine which it 
terms heretical. It seems to consider it as relating only to 
the Lord's supper; but this would veiy properly mark the 
church of the Vaudois, who, as we shall see in the sequel, 
rejected the sacrifice of the mass. 

Another testimony worthy of attention is taken from the 
writings of a man born in the neighbourhood of the valleys, 
namely, Bruno d'Asti, bishop of Segni, and abbot of Mont- 
cassin, about the year 1120. ^Tiat he says relates not 
only to a disgraceful traffic in sacred things — to simony, but 
to the general corruption of the church in his time, and 
especially to the existence of the active promoters of a 
more Christian life ; in other words, the existence of a 
faithful church. We translate the passage : " "We have 
said," Bruno remarks, ''that from the time of St. Leo, 
about A.D. 460, the church was already so corrupted, that 
it was difficult to find an individual not guilty of simony, 
or who had not been ordained by simoniacs ; also up to 
the present day we meet with persons who, by erroneous 
reasoning, and not understanding the organization of the 
chiu-ch, maintain that the priesthood has failed in the 
church since that time."f 

pollutam esse inveterata hseresi de corpora et sanguine Domini." Spicnegimn 
Dacherii, t. \'ii., p. -493; GUly, p. 88. 

* That is, to every one wlio knows that it is necessary to cross the Alps ia 
taking siich a iomTiev. 

t :\Ia,xima Biblioth., P. P., t. xx., col. 1734. 

C 2 


Bruno d'Asti has not named the Yaudois, but he has 
marked them with sufficient exactness ; for while he con- 
founds the pope St. Leo with another more ancient Leo, he 
quotes a claim formally set forth in the writings of the 
Yaudois, and repeated in those of their opponents; and 
he seems to allude to one of their best-established 
traditions, namely, that according to which the Yaudois 
trace back their belief to Leo, an associate and contemporary 
of Sjdvester, bishop of Eome in the time of the emperor 
Constantine, as we shall see further on. 

These expressions of a man who was born in the neigh- 
boui'hood of the Yaudois valleys, which he uses while 
attempting to refute an opinion that still had currency 
among them conformably to their tradition, will doubtless 
carrj^ great weight with all reflective persons. 

These various facts forcibly demonstrate the existence, in 
the tenth and eleventh centuries, of a church distinct from 
the Roman, in the north of Italy, 

To these ancient testimonies we shall add that of a 
modern author, the marquis Costa de Beauregard. Tliis 
testimony is of so much greater importance, because M. 
Costa, as a Catholic, cannot be suspected of favouring the 
cause of the Yaudois, and as a Savoyard of noble birth, a 
friend of historical inquiiies, and an author occupied on 
the history of his native country, he has had the oppor- 
tunity of consulting all the documents in the archives. He 
expresses himself as follows : ''To fill up the measure of 
these evils, they fought with one another on account of 
religious opinions ; and carried on their controversies while 
surrounded by depravity and the grossest ignorance. 
Arianism was widely spread through Savoy, and Mani- 
clieism in Piedmont."^' In the tenth century, we see a 
count of Turin and a bishop of Asti joining in arms to 
exterminate the Manicheans who were assembled in the 
Langhes, pursuing them Avith fire and sword, and com- 
mitting them and their villages to the flames. 

'' The sectaries who took in France the name of Albi- 
genses, were called in Italy Pater ini, Cathari, or Gazari, 
names equivalent to that of Puritans . They afterwards j oined 
themselves to the religionists in the valleys of Pinerolo. 

* In the following chapter we shall state our opinion respecting the Mani- 
cheans of that period. 


''There exists also a chronicle of Era-Dolcino, a heretic 
of the eleventh centuiy, containing some notices of the 
Manicheism of which he was an ardent propagator in 
Biella, ]S^ovarra, and Yercelli, and the dogmas of which 
are in part still held by the Protestants in the valleys of 



"We mnst now adduce certain facts that occurred in the 
eleventh centiuy, which indicate an unquestionable re- 
ligious activity in the propagation of sound evangelical 
doctrines. Before enumerating such as have come to our 
knowledge, it will be proper to remind our readers that 
eveiy manifestation has an origin, and every event its 
cause ; that, consequently, the religious manifestations of 
the eleventh centiuy, like those of succeeding ages, so re- 
markable for their evangelical character, also had theirs. 

"Without doubt, the word of God read and meditated 
upon, in different places, by sincere, humble, and believing 
men, was able to produce, in these times of darkness, effects 
analogous to those which it produced at a later period in 
the hearts and lives of a Luther, a Lefe^TC, and a Zi^ingle ; 
but if, in these religious manifestations of the eleventh cen- 
tury, we find indications leading us to suppose or perceive 
that many of them had their source and origin in the Alps 
which separate Italy fi'om France, we shall have a new 
proof of the continued existence of an evangelical, faithful 
church in those countries. 

Certainly, all the facts adduced will not have the same 
force, or be equally con-v^incing ; but when united and taken 
in connexion with what has been already said, they will 
add strength to the precediag proofs. 

It must also be recollected that these facts have come 
down to us only in the writings of the adversaries of these 

* Memoires Hist., par le marquis Costa de Beauregard, t. i. pp. 46, 47, pre- 
face, pp. siii. and xiv. 


manifestations, throiigli the medium of men who have ill 
understood them — who have often misrepresented them, 
and who have suppressed what it was their interest to con- 
ceal, in order to extenuate the criminality of their own 
degenerate and persecuting church. 

The following are some of these facts : — 

In the year 1017 according to some, or 1022 according 
to others, a religious manifestation attracted attention. 
Persons distinguished by the regularity of their lives, their 
knowledge, and their position in society, were accused of 
heresy at Orleans. They were fourteen in number, in- 
cluding a nun. The clergy were strongly represented, for 
six of these people were canons of Sainte Croix; among 
whom the names of three are preserved, Lisoius, Heribert, 
and Etienne. One of them had been confessor to queen 
Constance. It was stated that they had held their peculiar 
views for some time, and that while remaining in outward 
connexion with the church, they celebrated a religious 
ser\'ice in private. It was agreed on all hands, that they 
had been gained over to heresy by a female who came from 
Italy. IIa\dng been tried by a synod assembled for the 
piu'pose, they were condemned to the flames, because they 
would not abjure or retract their pretended errors.^' 

Pleury, a Catholic author, having spoken in detail of 
these sectaries, adds, ^'The adherents to this sect, who 
were found elsewhere, particularly at Toulouse, were 
burned, as is testified by Ademar, a monli of Angouleme, 
and a writer of that age." 

The same Ademar, a contemporary of these pretended 
heretics, expresses himself as follows : — ''These emissaries 
of Antichrist were spread through difi'erent parts of the 
west, and carefully concealed themselves, seducing as many 
as they were able, both men and women. "f 

In support of these facts. Usher, archbishop of Armagh, 
in Ireland, in the seventeenth century, cites a passage from 
the History of Aquitaine, by P. Pitherus, in these words : 
'' All at once the Manicheans appeared in Aquitaine, (Gas- 
cony,) seducing people of every class, and drawing them 
away from truth into error .... so that they have turned 

* Usserius, Gravissimse Qusestionis, pp. 279, 280. Histoire G^n^rale du 
Langiiedoc, t. ii. pp. 155, 156. 
t Fleury, Histoire Ecclesiastiqiie, t, xiii., p. 416, etc. 


aside many simple persons from the faith." After men- 
tioning the heretics of Orleans, and Toulouse, he repeats 
vhat ^ye have quoted fi^om Ademar."^' 

JS^early at the same epoch, a.d. 1025, other sectaries 
were discovered at Arras, at the northern extremity of 
France, in Flanders. According to Dupin, a Catholic theo- 
logian of the seventeenth century, it was reported to Gerard, 
bishop of Cambray and Arras, but residing in the latter 
city, that '^ some persons had come from Italy, who had 
introduced a new heresy. They said that they were dis- 
ciples of Candulph or Gandulph, who had instructed them 
in the commandments of the gospel and the apostles ; add- 
ing, that they received no other scriptures, but observed 
these exactly." A synod was called. The accused parties 
were not condenined to the stake, because they abjured 
their new belief, and retiu-ned to the bosom of the church. f 

Turin, also, had its heretics; in 1030, according to the 
account of Pierre de Yaux-Cernay, cited by M. Charles 
Victor Goguet, in the ''Dissertation on the Albigenses," 
which he laid before the faculty of theology at Strasburg, 
in 1840. 

Eadulph Glaber, a wiiter of the eleventh century, tells 
us that in the year 1028 a sect found their way into the 
chateau of Monteforte, in the diocese of Asti, in Piedmont, 
who re^vived pagan and Jewish rites, or rather those of the 
Manicheans, according to Muratori. The bishop of Asti, 
and his brother the marquis of Susa, in conjunction with 
other prelates or lords of the province, had made many 
attacks upon them without success. But Landolfo the 
elder states that Eribert, or Aribert, archbishop of Milan, 
happening to be at Tiuin, caused one of these heretics, 
named Gerard, to be apprehended, and having learned 
from him that he held Manichean doctrines, sent troops 
against the chateau and took it. A lew of the heretics 
abjured their tenets ; the rest were burned alive in the 
Place du D6me.| 

Other heretics were discovered in the diocese of Chalons- 
sur-Mame, about the year 1046, as we see by a letter of 
Eogerius n., bishop of Chalons, to Wazo, bishop of Liege. 

* Usserius, etc. p. 279. 

t Dupin, Nouvelle Biblioth., t. viii., pt. ii., p. 127. 

j Bossi, Stx)ria d'ltalia, t. xiv., p. 187, etc. 


He accuses them of following the perverse doctrine of the 
Manicheans, and of holding secret conventicles. He asserts 
that if rude and ignorant men joined this sect they very soon 
became able to speak better than well-educated Catholics, 
so that their unpremeditated talk seemed superior to the 
true eloquence of philosophers. He also remarks, that 
heretics might be known by their pallid countenances. "^ 

In the synod assembled at Rheims, in 1049, under pope 
Leo IX., the new heretics who had made their appearance 
in Gaul were excommunicated. 

Radulph Ardens also mentions that Manichean heretics 
polluted the territory of Agen, about the end of the eleventh 
century, but he leaves us in ignorance of the characteristics 
and circumstances of this religious manifestation.! 

We might specify some other religious movements ; for 
example, that which took place at Goslar, in Germany, in 
1052, in consequence of which the emperor Henry iv., 
who was visiting that city during the Christmas holidays, 
caused those who were convicted of heresy to be appre- 
hended, for the purpose, he said, of striking terror, and 
preventing others from falliiig into the same errors. But 
it is suflicient for our present purpose to have cited the 
foregoing facts.;]: 

It would be desirable to know exactly the doctrines pro- 
fessed by these men whom the church of those times 
branded with the name of heretics, and put to an ignomi- 
nious death. They would throw much light on the ques- 
tion which now occupies us, that is, the spiritual relationship 
which possibly existed between the religious manifestations 
we have been detailing, and the Christians in the north 
of Italy, in the mountains of the diocese of Turin, who 
have been already mentioned, and will come again under 
our notice. Contemporary authors, it is true, have at- 
tempted to give an account of the tenets of these heretics; 
but judging of those times even by our own, and looking 
at the manner in which the Eomish church speaks of the 
reformers of the sixteenth century, and of their lives and doc- 
trines, though the Protestant churches were then existing, 
and consequently at hand to correct distorted facts, what 

* Recneil des Historiens des Gaiiles, t. xi., p. 11, by Anselm. 
t Usserius, etc., p. 281. 

t Centariat. Magdeb., Cent, si., col. 246. Recueil des Historiens des Gaules, 
t. xi., p. 20. 


can be expected from these same partisans of Eomish' 
errors, when they report to us the tenets and lives of 
martp's who have had no one to defend their memoiy, and 
to protest against the unjust censures with which they 
have been branded ? Did they understand the proper cha- 
racter of those manifestations ? "W^ill they initiate us into 
the real faith and practice of their victims ? On these points 
we are very sceptical. 

Let the reader judge for himself, from a fragment which 
is communicated by a Catholic writer of integrity — Fleury. 
He quotes a contemporary of the heretics of Orleans, and 
other sectaries of that age, all of whom he terms ]Mani- 
cheans : '' These persons," he says, '' assemble on certain 
nights in a specified house, each one with a lamp in his 
hand, and recite the names of demons in the form of a litany, 
till, all at once, they see a demon descend in the shape 
of a small animal. Immediately all the lights are put 
out, which is the signal for general debauchery with the 
females present : one of the ofi'spring of this intercourse, 
when eight days old, is brought into the midst of their 
assembly, thrown into a large fire, and burned to a cinder. 
They collect these ashes, and preserve them with as much 
veneration as Christians preserve the body of Jesus Christ, 
as the viaticum [last sacrament] for the sick. Such was 
the magical wtue of these ashes that it was almost impos- 
sible to convert any one who had swallowed the smallest 
particle of them." 

'' This story," adds Fleury, ''is so similar to the calum- 
nies cast on the primitive Chiistians, that it seems a mere 
imitation ; and yet, such is the accoimt given by a contem- 
porary author. Another writer says that they carried with 
them the powder of dead infants, and if they could make 
persons take any of it, they would directly become Mani- 
cheans, like themselves."^'' 

This acknowledgment of the Catholic historian, riemy, 
will serve to show the want of correctness that must be 
expected in documents which so grossly distort historical 
truth. Can we credit a statement of the docti^ines at- 
tributed to the parties by such ^Titers ? 'Ko ! this would 
be to acquiesce in the calumny and injustice that have been 
heaped on men who deserved to be better spoken of. They 

* Fleury, Hist. Eccles., t. xiii., p. 416. 

c 3 


were reproached with the name of Manicheans, but we do 
not believe that they deserved it. The forcible expressions 
and energetic language with which they described the 
opposition made to God, and to the work of Christ by the 
prince of darkness, the prince of this world, the prince of 
the power of the air, Satan, the chief of the rebel angels, 
who works in the children of disobedience, who goes about 
as a roaring lion seeking to devour the children of God, 
who attempts to seduce even the elect ; — yes ! this effort of 
the pretended heretics to exhibit in strong colours the war 
waged by the wicked one against the living and true God, 
against our Lord and Saviour, may have been called Dualism 
and Manicheism by men devoted to a material and idola- 
trous worship of God, angels, and saints. So there are 
men in our day who reject the doctrine of the existence of 
Satan and his opposition to the work of Jesus Christ, 
because they think that they see in it a denial of the power 
of God, — Dualism and Manicheism ; and especially because 
they do not believe, or do not know the word of God which 
reveals this melancholy truth. 

We believe, then, that these so-called heretics were friends 
of the gospel, who, themselves illumined by the light that 
was almost everywhere hid under a bushel, attempted to 
replace it on a candlestick, but whose efforts were rendered 
abortive by that thick darkness in which Europe was en- 
veloped. The following are some fragments of their doctrine, 
as given by a contemporary author, quoted by Fleury. Those 
who are taught of God will here recognise the lessons of the 
gospel in spite of the unfavourable form under which they are 
presented to us : " They affirm that baptism does not wash 
away sin ; that the body and blood of Jesus Christ are not 
made by the consecration of the priest ; that it is useless to 
pray to saints, whether martjn^s or confessors ; lastly, that 
works of piety are a useless labour, from which no recom- 
pense can be expected, and no punishment is to be feared 
for the most criminal pleasures." '■•' 

A fragment of a history of Aquitaine, published by 
Pistorius and quoted by Usher, attributes the following- 
errors to heretics in the time of king Robert and of pope 
Benedict viii. : — " They deny baptism, the sign of the 
holy cross, the church, and the Redeemer of the world 

* Fleury : the same reference as before. 


himself, the honour clue to the saints of God, lawful 
marriages, and the use of meats." The heretics of Orleans, 
Toulouse, and other places, are also called Manicheans in 
this document.-'' 

JS^atalis sums up the errors of the heretics of Arras in 
these few words : '^ The heretics deny the mystery of holy 
bajDtism, the sacraments of the eucharist, penance, holy 
orders, and marriage. They admit of no worship to confes- 
sors, no veneration for the Saviour's cross, the images of 
saints, churches, and altars. They deny purgatory, and say 
that Christian burial is of no advantage to the deceased."! 

We find it also stated in Dupin, ''that they attach no 
value to bells, nor to unction, nor to exorcism. "| 

Eadulph Ardens, according to Usher, speaks thus of the 
Manicheans of Agennois : '' They falsely pretend to follow 
the lives of the apostles, saying that they may not lie, nor 
swear at all."§ 

It now remains to deduce some inferences from the fore- 
going facts. 

We follow the traces of the church that continued faith- 
fid to evangelical doctrines. We seek for them in the dark 
ages ; and we at once find religious manifestations, which, 
although misrepresented by the reports of victorious adver- 
saries, exhibit to our view an opposition to the superstitious 
worship of a degenerate church, a return to evangelical 
doctrines, a life of self-denial, charity, truth, and purity, to 
the example of the apostles, whom they professed to take 
as their models. Although stigmatized by prejudice, igno- 
rance, and hatred, these religious movements appear to us 
to be genuine. We believe that we discover among them, 
imder the rubbish with which they have been covered, 
sometliing more than materials for the fire, — ^hay, wood, 
and stubble ; we catch a glimpse of gold, silver, and precious 
stones, built upon the true foundation. 1 Cor. iii. 12. 

If now we endeavour to ascend to the soui'ces of these 
religious manifestations, we perceive that if some are indi- 
genous, if they seem to have issued from the very soil over 
which their subsequent course was directed, yet there are 
other springs which must be traced up to the distant and 

* TJsserius, etc., p. 279. 

t R. P. Natalis Alexandri, etc., t. vii., p. 82. 

t Dupin, Nouvelle Biblioth,, etc., t. viii., pp. 127, 128. 

§ Usserius, etc., p. 281. 


solitary valleys, where those gushing streams that afterwards 
watered the plains, displayed their wild beauty under the 
ancient shade of the lofty Alps, far away from the observa- 
tion of the world. 

'No doubt, God has preserved, in all places, in his church, 
when invaded by error and idolatry, some faithful ones, who 
have not wholly bowed the knee to Baal. Such in France, 
in the eleventh century, was the illustrious Berenger, prin- 
cipal of the school of Tours, of whom Teoduin, bishop of 
Liege, speaks, in a letter addressed to king Henry : — " The 
report," he writes, " is spread through Gaul and in all 
Germany, that Bruno, bishop of Angers, and Berenger, of 
Tours, have revived the ancient heresies, maintaining that 
the Lord's body is not so much his body as the shadoAV 
and figui'e of his body, destroying lawful marriages, and 
abolishing, as far as lies in their power, the baptism of 
infants. ""^^ 

But there can be no doubt that the evangelical truth 
which sought to manifest itself, was also conveyed to 
diiferent places, by persons who were not natives of the 
districts in which they propagated it. 

In fact, this heresy, almost the same wherever it appeared, 
is often ascribed to the seductions of numerous emissaries 
of Antichrist, spread through different parts of the west, 
active and insinuating men, who seduced the people imper- 
ceptibly, etc. 

On these data, we think it must be admitted that this 
heresy, in many places where it existed, was the work of 
special emissaries, or, to use the proper term, missionaries. 
But we see by the writings of the Yaudois, which will be 
fuU}^ noticed in the sequel, that the missionary work was 
held in honour among them, and even engaged the special 
attention of their synods, since a fund was set apart for 
persons who were employed in such expeditions. This 
fact, confirmed by various other testimonies of their adver- 
saries, tends to support the position we are maintaining. 
But more than this. Italy is pointed out, on two occasions, 
as the native country of these abettors of heresy. We have 
just seen it asserted, that the heretics of Orleans had been 
won over to heresy by a woman from Italy ; and that the 
movement in Arras was owing to the teachings of some 

* Fleiiry, Hist. Eccl^s., etc., t. xii., p. 575. 


persons cIcToted to the study of the Scriptures, who also 
came from Italy >' 

It was then, not impossible, and, in our opinion, it is 
probable, that the religious movement which took place in 
the eleventh century, and was unjustly taxed vrith Mani- 
cheism, was in a great measure a radiation of the light pre- 
served in the diocese of Claude of Tmin, on the Italian side 
of the Alps. We believe, therefore, that the religious 
manifestations we have been mentioning, go to prove the pre- 
servation of a faithful church in the bosom of the Italian 
Alps. But we shaU shortly lay before our readers additional 
and more conclusive evidence. 



The little success of the attempts made in the eleventh 
century to establish in the western church the pure doc- 
trines, and to revive the spirit of the gospel, might lead us 
to apprehend that the cause of truth was entirely and 
everywhere suppressed, and that fi'om the thinned ranks of 
the remnant of the faithful chui'ch there would arise no 
more courageous adversaries of error and superstition. 
After so many unfortunate attempts, there seemed to be 
no probability of success ; why, then, should any one ad- 
vance in a path leading to certain destruction ? But Chiis- 
tian faith hopes when, humanly speaking, there is no hope. 
She hopes, because she trusts in her Divine Leader. She 
expects victory, not fi'om an ann of flesh, but from the 
power of Him who says to her, " Cry aloud, spare not. 
— Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the 
world." Impelled by faith, and fortified by hope, the 
redeemed servant of Christ does not ask, " Are there many 
of us ?" Sufacient for him is the promise of his Lord and 
Saviour ; and alone, if so it must be, he consecrates his life 

* Ecrits des Vaudois, livre de la Discipline, (Writings of the Vaudois, book 
of Discipline,) ch. iv., second pai-agraph.— Leger, etx;., pt. i., p. 192.— Perrin, 
Hist, of the Vaudois, ch. iv. 


to the work of the ministry, and the salvation of souls. 
The fear of death and outrage cannot deter him. Like 
Paul, he goes forth for the conquest of the world in the 
name of Jesus Chiist. His credentials and apology for 
such boldness are comj)rised in these few words : — " I be- 
lieve, therefore have I spoken." 

This taith was not wanting to the feeble -remains of the 
faithful church. If the lamp of truth, which was still 
burning in by-places was small, its flame was yet bright 
and well fed. In the year 1100 the church of the Yaudois 
valleys set forth its belief and discipline, and reflected its 
life, in writings with which we shall make our readers 
acquainted, -with a clearness and precision that by no means 
indicate a recent origin. We need not, then, be astonished 
to see, at this same period, evangelical missionaries coming 
from these countries, or their vicinity, to carry on the 
work of their predecessors. 

Two men especially attract our attention, Pierre de Bruis 
and Henry, his fellow-labourer. The first was a priest ;^* 
the second was often designated '^the false hermit." They 
began to disseminate their doctrines in La Septimanie, 
which, according to Dupin, included Dauphine and ^Pro- 
vence. From Provence they passed into Languedoc and 
Gascogne, whence their so-called heresy penetrated into 
Spain and England, etc.f 

Before we follow them into their field of labour, and 
inquire what doctrine they taught, it "^ill be desirable to 
acquaint ourselves with their origin, which is already seen 
to be of importance. Pierre de Bruis was a native of 
Dauphine, and Hemy an Italian. In the preceding chapter 
we have seen that several religious manifestations had 
emanated from Italy. We have observed, in chapter iv., 
that the provinces at the foot of the Alps, the districts of 
Yercelli, Piedmont, and Astesan, were infected with Ma- 
nichean heresy, — that is, in our view, with evangelical 
doctrines. Henry, the false hermit, the companion of 
Pierre de Bruis, is surnamed the Italian, which we confess 
does not prove that he belonged formerly to those districts 
that were accused of heresy ; nevertheless, this supposition 

* It would be interesting to know the exact nature of liis priesthood ; whether 
he had received orders from a known superior, or whether he was one of those 
who were persecuted, and sometimes caUed acephalous, {acephales,) headless. 

t Centur. Magdeb., Cent, xii., col. 832. 


docs not appear extravagant, especially if we reflect that 
the connexion between Henry and Pierre de Bruis, and the 
conformity of their docti'ine, will be explained hj the fami- 
liar intercourse that Dauphine always maintained with 
Piedmont, and the Yaudois valleys in particular. In the 
twelfth century, these relations became more intimate than 
ever, since Dauphine possessed some valleys on the eastern 
side of the Alps, (valleys which make a part of Piedmont 
at the present time, ) as may be seen in the letters-patent of 
the year 1155, by which the emperor Frederic granted to 
the dauphin the right of coining money at Cesane, in the 
valley of Susa.^'' We also find that the valley of Pragela, 
or Clusone, belonged to Dauphine. Thus the Yaudois 
valleys were wedged in by Dauphine, by which they were 
bounded on three sides. On the basis of these geographical 
and political facts, nothing is easier than to explain the 
origin of the doctrine preached by Pierre de Bruis of 
Dauphine, and by Henry the Italian, as well as their inti- 
mate comiexion. More than this : if we trace with atten- 
tion the labours of these two illustrious missionaries, scru- 
tinize their lives, and examine their doctrines, we shall be 
satisfied of their affiliation to the religious movement of the 
subalpine countries, which has already been discussed, but 
of which a fuller account will be given in the chapters 
relating to the doctrine and life of the ancient Yaudois. 

Few particulars have come down to us respecting the 
conflicts and sufferings of one of these distinguished 
servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, namely Pierre de Bruis. 
It is only knoT\Ti that, after preaching and laboimng to 
establish and extend the Saviour's kingdom, for twenty 
years, he received the crown of martyrdom, by being burned 
to death at St. Gilles, in Languedoc, a.d. 1126.f 

More details are known respecting the adventiu^ous life 
of Henry. After having laboured for some time in concert 
with Bruis, he parted from him, for what reason we are 
not informed. "VYe may suppose that their work being 
weU advanced, it was thought advisable that they should 
proclaim separately the good news of salvation and 
regeneration, for the conversion of a greater number. 
Henry at first directed his ste]3s towards Lausanne. He 

* Histoire du Dauphine, Geneve, chez Fabry, 1772, t. i., passim, and p. 93, etc. 
t Centui-. Magdeb., Cent, xii., col. 832. 


came at a later period to Mans, with two other Italians. 
They travelled, barefooted, in all weathers, each carrying a 
staff, surmounted with a cross. The exact time of Henry's 
arrival at Mans is uncertain: DupiUi gives the year 1110. 
Authors are better agreed as to the effects of his preaching 
in this city. Henry obtained from Heribert, who was 
bishop of Mans, and just on the point of leaving the place, 
permission to preach in the churches during his absence. 
His preaching made a powerful impression on his hearers. 
The people were fascinated. But the clergy, who at first 
approved and welcomed their foreign brother, were not 
slow to change their opinion, when they felt their personal 
credit diminished. The captivating orator was prohibited 
from preaching any more. The people in vain expressed 
their disapprobation of this step, and threatened that they 
would have no other pastor. Henry, though loved and 
supported by the multitude, was obliged to give way and 
depart. From Mans he proceeded to Poitiers ; then, as 
some say, to Perigueux; afterwards to Bourdeaux, Toulouse, 
and the parts where he had already laboured with Bruis."^"' 

In the year 1134, having been arrested by order of the 
archbishop of Aries, he was conducted by that prelate to 
the council of Pavia, which was held that same year. 
Henry was condemned as a heretic by that assembly, and 
imprisoned. By some means, however, he regained his 
liberty, and apjD eared again in the south of France. There 
he was opposed by St. Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, an 
eloquent and energetic man, who had gained a high 
reputation b}' the superior management of his convent, by 
his zeal, by different miracles of which he had the credit, 
and by his victory over Abailard, whose condemnation he 
obtained at the council of Sens, in 1140. By the efforts of 
this abbot and the legate Alberic, who were sent to 
Toulouse, in 1147, to repress heresy, Henry was delivered 
into the hands of the bishop of that city, and conducted, 
the following year, to the council of Pheims. Being con- 
demned a second time, he was again thrown into prison, 
where he soon died, after more than forty years of toil and 
labour for the cause of the pure gospel. Many of these 
facts are contained in the letter of St. Bernard to Ilde- 

* Dupin, Notivelle Bibliotli., t. ix., p. 101. Eecueil des Historiens des 
Gaiiles, xiv.j p. 430. Admonitio prasvia — Gieseler, p. 4i2. 



phonse or Alphonse, count of Toulouse and St. Gilles, 
^viitten at the time of his mission. If the injustice of the 
abbot of Clairvaux towards his enemies were not well 
known, we should be astonished to find him atti^ibuting 
Henry's abrupt departm^e from many cities, in which he 
had sojourned, to prosecutions for acts of immorality; but 
we well know that it was for his preaching and so-called 
heresy that this confessor of the faith was persecuted and 
forced to make his escape.^' 

The success of Pierre de Bruis and Henry was astonish- 
ing. The work in which they laboured, seconded by 
brethren whose names have not come down to iis, was 
rapidly consolidated, and spread into many distiicts, in 
spite of the efforts of part of the clergy and the popes to 
destroy it; until at last, in the thii^teenth century, the 
Homan pontiffs raised against it those brutal and bloody 
persecutions, kno^ii imder the name of the crusades against 
the Albigenses. 

The regions traversed by Pierre de Bruis and Henry soon 
swarmed with heretics, even in those parts where they had 
been partiallv checked. For example, at Perigueux, a city 
which Hemw passed thi'ough in his way from Poitiers to 
BoiuTleaux, there were found, in 1140, and thi'oughout the 
countiy, Heribert informs us, a great number of heretics, 
who professed to lead an apostoKc Kfe. Another contem- 
porary author, the abbot Morgan, the annalist, relates, that, 
about the year 1163, heretics of the same sort, who aspired 
also to lead an apostoKc life, had made great progress in 

At Toulouse, and other places where the new docti^e 
had been sown, the efforts of St. Bernard, who opposed it, 
had at first some success, particularly at the moment when 
the infant church was deprived of its leader, Henry, who 
died in prison. The Catholic chuix-hes, heretofore deserted, 
were again filled ; the heretics concealed themselves ; the 
preachSig of the abbot of Clairvaux and his pretended 
mii-acles, seemed to have subdued the common people. 

* D. Bemardi Epistola, 241— Acta Episcop. Cenomanensiiim, cap. xxxiii — 
Mabillionis Analecta, t. iii., p. 312.-PetmsClimiacensism Maxima Bibhoth 
P. P., t. xxii., cols. 8G1, 1034.— Histoire du Languedoc, etc.,t. u., p. iU-U.- ite- 
ceuil des Historiens des Gatdes, t. xii. p. 547, etc. ^ • ..i ^ 

t ^laV^mioms Analecta, t. iii., p. 467.-Histoire du Languedoc, etc., in the 
preamble of Book xix. 


This state of things, however, did not last long. The 
historians of Languedoc admit this. *' St. Bernard had the 
happiness," they say, ''to lead back to the faith those who 
had wandered ; but in spite of all his care the heresy of the 
Henricians secretly kept its hold, and, some years later, it 
revived with so much vigour as at last to cause extreme 

The importance of this fact is confirmed by the acts of 
the council assembled at Tours, in 1163. The fourth 
canon, in which it is enjoined on the bishops of Toulouse 
and the neighbouring places, to have a watchful eye over 
heretics, mentions them in the preamble in the foUoTvdng 
terms: — "Eor a long time, in the neighbourhood of Tou- 
louse, there has arisen a damnable heresy, which, gradually 
spreading like a cancer, has already infected Gascogne and 
many other provinces."! 

In A.D. 1165 or 1176, (authors differ as to the date,)J a 
council, held at Lombers, summoned before it certain 
heretics, who had been discovered in the province of Tou- 
louse, and were known by the title of ''good men" (honi 
homine!^.) After being examined in the presence of Peter, 
archbishop of Narbonne, Gii'ard, Albi, Gaucelin, Lodeve, 
and other bishops, they were pronounced heretics, and 
handed over to the secular power. The chief among them 
was called Olivier. They were numerous. The nobility 
partook of their opinions. 

"But the condemnation of these heretics," we are told 
by the Benedictine historians of Languedoc, " did not stop 
their progress, either in the province or in foreign lands ; 
they spread especially in Burgundy and Flanders, under 
the name of Poplicans." "In fact," they say in another 
passage, " the error made such astonishing progress, that 
it gained over the greater part of the ecclesiastics and the 
nobility of high, and part of low Languedoc. Eajnnond, 
count of Toulouse", a prince zealous for the faith, resolved 
to remedy the evil. . Recollecting the services of Saint 
Bernard, which had been rendered thirty years before to 
count Alphonse, his father, he applied to the chapter 
general of Citeaux, assembled in September, 1177, and 

* Histoire du Languedoc, etc., t. ii., p. 447. 
t Ad Labbeum. . . Concil., t. x., col. 1419. 

t According to Usher it was in 1176 ; according to the Recueil des Historiens 
des Gaules, in 1165. 


besought that body to come to his succour. ' This heresj^' 
added he, 'has prevailed to such a degree, that it has 
caused division between husband and ^vil'e, father and son, 
mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. Persons of the priestly 
order have suffered themselves to be corrupted ; the churches 
are forsaken and fallen into ruin ; they refuse to administer 

baptism ; the eucharist is treated as an abomination 

As for myself — I who am armed "svith two swords, and 
consider it my glory to be thereby appointed the avenger 
and the minister of God's ^T:ath — I seek in vain for the 
means to put an end to such great evils, and I confess that 
I am not strong enough to accomplish the object; for the 
most distinguished of my subjects have been seduced, and 
have carried away mth them the greater part of the people. 
.... I therefore humbly implore your succoiu', counsel, 
and prayers, to extii'pate this heresy.' "^'' 

At a later period, the same count Raymond adopted the 
very principles which he had at first disowned, and sacrificed 
for them his property and estates in the terrible crusade 
that was made against his people and himself. 

"W^e shall not undertake to recount the subsequent history 
of the so-called heretics of Languedoc and the neighbouring 
provinces ; such a topic deserves to be treated of separately, 
as has been done already by various authors, to whom we 
refer the reader. For our present puqjose it is sufficient to 
have shown the connexion of the religious movements in 
the south of France, during the twelfth century, with the 
similar manifestations of the preceding century, and with 
the religious state of some countries in the north of Italy, 
particularly Piedmont. 

But before dismissing this subject, we have to give an 
account of the doctrines, which, according to the reports of 
their adversaries, were preached and propagated by Pierre 
de Bruis, Hemy, and their fellow-laboiu'ers, in the countries 
above mentioned. 

Peter the Yenerable, abbot of Clugny, attributes to 
Pierre de Bruis the five following points of doctrine, 
which he states in his ninth letter, entitled, '' Against 
the Petrobrusians," and addressed to the archbishops of 
Aries and Embrun, as well as to the bishops of Gap and 

* Histoire du Languedoc, etc., t. ii. pp. -i — 46. 


(i.) He (Pierre de Bruis) denies that children, before 
they arrive at years of intelligence, can be saved by bap- 
tism, or that the faith of another person can be useful to 
them, since, according to those of his opinion, it is not the 
faith of another which saves, but the faith of the individual 
with baptism, according to our Lord's words : ^' He that 
believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that 
belie veth not shall be damned." 

(ii.) The second point consists in this — that we ought 
not to build either temple or church, but Ave ought to over- 
turn the existing edifices of this kind ; that consecrated 
places are not necessary for Christian devotion, because 
God, who is invoked, understands and hearkens to those 
who are worthy of being heard, whether in a tavern or a 
church, a market-place or a temple, before an altar or in a 

(iii.) The third article enjoins the cutting in pieces of 
the sacred crosses and burning them, because they have the 
form of the instrument which was made use of to tortiu"e 
Jesus Christ, and so cruelly to deprive him of life ; the cross 
is not Avorth}^ of adoration or veneration, or any kind of 
supplication ; on the contrary,, by way of retribution for the 
sufferings and death of Christ, it merits all dishonour, such 
as being cut in pieces and burned. 

(iv.) Bruis not only denies that the true body and blood 
of the Lord are offered daily and continually in the church 
by the sacrament, but declares that this sacrament is 
nothing, and ought not to be offered to God. 

(v.) He (Bruis) ridicules sacrifices, prayers, alms, and 
other good works performed by li^dng believers on behalf 
of such as are deceased, and affirms that these things caimot 
be of the slightest use to the dead. 

''I have answered these five points," says the venerable 
Peter, ^' according as God has granted me grace, in the 
letter which I have addressed to your holinesses."^' 

The venerable abbot goes on to say, — '' But after the 
zeal of the faithful, in burning Pierre de Bruis, near St. 
Gilles, had taken vengeance for the fii'e which he had 
lighted, and which had consumed the cross of the Lord ; 
after this impious maA had passed from the fire of the pile 

* Maxima Biblioth, P. P., t. xxii., col. 1033.— [Also Gieseler's Lelirbuch der 
Kirchengeschichte, vol. ii., pt. 2, p. 524. Third edition. Bonn. 1832.] 


of faggots to eternal fire, the heir of his heresy, Henry, 
-v^ith I know not what other j)ersons, so far from correcting 
his diabolical doctrine, endeavoiu-ed to confirm it, and, as I 
have seen in a volume, which they say proceeded fr'om his 
lips, he has published not only these five points of doctrine, 
but a great many more."* 

AVe have read a letter of later date, to the above mentioned 
prelates, in which the venerable Peter refutes the pretended 
false doctrines which he had just enumerated, describing 
their diabolical tendency in still stronger terms ; but ex- 
cepting some new developments, and a critique on church 
music, the two letters appear to us to be nearly the same.f 

The !Magdeburgh Centuriators, who have extracted and 
collected the different points of doctrine professed by the 
heretics of the south of France, in the twelfth century, 
mention some other articles of faith beside ; for examjole, on 
the Lord's supper, ''That the bodj' and blood of Christ 
were not offered in the theatrical mass, and that it was not 
an oblation made for the salvation of souls ; that the altars 
ought to be destroyed ; that the doctiine of the change in 
the sacramental elements is false ; that the sacred supper 
ought not now to be given to men, because it was once 
given by Chi^ist to his apostles," Evident^, this last 
opinion is incoiTectly reported, since, as we shall see by the 
testimony of St. Bernard, the so-called heretics of the south 
of France partook of the supper. It certainly related to 
the expiatory sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which was offered 
only once, and which need not and cannot be repeated. 

On ^Marriage : "That the priests and monks ought to 
marry, rather than be the prey of lust, or give themselves 
up to impuiity." 

On Chants and Instruments of ]\Iusic : " That God is 
mocked by the chants which the priests and monks repeat 
in the temples ; that God cannot be appeased by monkish 

On Meats : " That it is allowable to eat meat on Sundays 
and other days." 

On the Holy Scriptures : ''A rimiour is prevalent," said 

* [Gieseler, p. 527.] Maxiina Biblioth., ibid., col. 1034. The reader is re- 
quested to take particulai- notice of these ex|3ressions, as they prove the close 
coiuie:?don that subsisted between Pierre du Bniis and Homy, and the identity 
of theh doctrine. 

t Maxima Biblioth., ibid., cols. 1036, 1048—1076. 


the abbot of Clugii}", " that they do not receive the whole 
canon ; that is to say, all the writings of the Old and 'New 
Testament;" he also said, ''that they received only the 

But here we beg to observe, that so grave an accu- 
sation as that urged by the venerable Peter against the 
heretics, of not receiving the whole canon of Scripture, rests 
on a very weak foundation, nothing more than " a prevalent 
rumour." Such a charge requu'es much stronger evidence 
than mere rumour to establish it. 

He also says, " They believe in one canon; they do not 
grant the same authority to the fathers as to the Holy 

The same centuriators have also extracted from the 
writings of St. Bernard the errors which he noticed in the 
apostolic heretics. We translate the passage : 

" The Apostolicals or Henricians ; their doctrines, ac- 
cording to St. Bernard, as far as they can be ascertained, 
are : 

(i.) " That infants ought not to be baptized. 

(ii.) " That they (the apostolicals) have the power of 
consecrating daily the body and blood of Christ at their 
table, to nourish themselves, since they are themselves the 
body of Christ and his members. f 

(iii.) " That virgins alone are allowed to marry, because 
God created man and woman virgins. 

(iv.) " That continence must be sought by marriage. 

(v.) ''That the fire of purgatory does not exist. The 
reason is, that the soul when separated from the body passes 
into a state of repose or danm.ation. 

(vi.) " That we must not pray for the dead. 

(vii.) "That we ought not to ask for the intercession 
of departed saints. 

(viii.) " That a man who lives in sin ought not to be 
a bishop. 

(ix.) " That it is not lawful to eat milk, nor what is 
made from it, nor an^^hing that comes by procreation. 

(x.) "They do not acknowledge the church, nor the 

* Centur. Magdeb. xii., col. 832, etc. 

t We read in the thirteenth sermon of Ekbert, abbot of St. Florin, the fol- 
lowuia: words relative to the heretics of Cologne, of the same jDeriod: *' They 
say that they alone make the body of the Lord at their tallies. But they use 
the words with a dou^ljle meaning- ; for they do not intend the true body of 
Christ, but they caU their own flesh the body of Christ." 


pontificate ; but assert that they, themselves, are the 

(xi.) " That swearing or oath-taking is forbidden." 
St. Bernard cites besides, several other points of doc- 
ti^ine and opinions of the apostolicals. Among other things 
he says, ''That they depreciate the orders of the church; 
they do not receive its institutions ; they despise its sacra- 
ments, and do not obey its commandments." He remarks 
that these doctrines have been collected by his own research, 
partly fi'om altercations or disputes, and partly from the 
lips of those who had returned to the papal church. On 
the other hand, we may remark that there is reason to ap- 
prehend that prejudice and animosity have more than once 
led to incorrect and unfavourable reports of the doctiines 
of those who were looked upon as heretics. The reader 
will have already had reason to make this observation for 
himself; for evidently many of the heretical opinions 
as given by Pierre de Clugny and St. Bernard are incom- 
plete, and presented in a false light; and we need only 
compare analogous opinions together, to be con\inced that 
such is the case. 

A contemporary' author, whom we have already men- 
tioned, Heribert, a monk of Angouleme, says of the heretics 
of Perigord and Perigueux in pai-ticular : ''In the country 
of Perigueux, a multitude of heretics have appeared, who 
pretend to lead an aj)ostolic life. They neither eat meat 
nor chn'rik wine oftener than once in three days, and then 
very moderately. They bend their knees a hundred times 
a day. They do not take money. Their sect is very per- 
verse and secret. They set no value on the mass, and say 
that the wafer is not to be taken, but a bit of bread. 
They adore neither the cross, nor the image of Jesus 
Christ; but rather hinder those who would. A great 
many people have been already seduced ; not only nobles 
who abandon their wealth, but also scholars, priests, monks, 
and friars."^'' 

The annalist de Morgan, in Thomas Gale, under the date 
of the year 1163, expresses himself nearly in the same 
manner. He adds a remarkable instance of the power of 
persuasion, and of the Christian life wliich they possessed ; 
it is the only one we shall report : "If ignorant persons," 

* MabiUionis Analecta, t. iii., pp. 4&7 — iS3. 


he says, ''come to them, at the end of eight days they 
become so accomplished, that they cannot be surpassed 
either in information or exemplary conduct.""^' 

The religious and evangelical movement did not remain 
confined with the limits of the south of France. Mani- 
festations very similar, although presenting, as they are 
reported, some points of difference, appeared along the 
Rhine, in Flanders, Burgundy, Lower Britanny, and else- 
where. Evervin, writing to St. Bernard about the heretics 
discovered at Cologne, of whom a great number were burned, 
and the rest returned to the church, expresses himself as 
follows: ''You know, my lord, that, on returning to the 
church, they have told us that they are a very great multi- 
tude, spread almost everywhere, and that they have in 
their ranks some of our ecclesiastics and monks. And 
those who have been burned, have urged in their defence, 
that this heresy has been propagated secretly from the 
times of the martyrs to the present day, and has existed in 
Greece and some other countries." 

This spiritual soldier}^, armed against error for the 
triumph of truth, gradually recruited its ranks through a 
long course of time, with prudence and a somewhat timid 
sagacity, and at last, as we have already seen, ventured on 
a more open warfare, in j^roportion as it saw its forces 
increase. Home itself, the residence of the pope, the for- 
tress of superstition, saw its enemy pass through its gates, 
and preach within its walls. In 1128, a foreign preacher 
excited as much surprise, as admiration or hatred, by his 
discourses. His name was Arnulph : his origin was never 
known. But thus much may be affirmed, that a Yaudois 
missionar}^ would not have preached otherwise than he did. 
Let us hear the report made of him by Trithemius : "At 
this time, under pope Honorius ii., a certain priest, named 
Arnulph, came to Rome, a man of great devotion, and a 
distinguished preacher. While he proclaimed the word of 
God, he rebuked the dissoluteness, the libertinism, the 
avarice, and the extreme haughtiness of the clergy. He 
exhibited, for universal imitation, the poverty and life of 
spotless integrity of Jesus Christ and his apostles. In 
truth, his preaching was approved by the Roman nobility, 
as that of a true disciple of Jesus Christ. But, on the other 

* Recueil des Historiens des Gaules, t. xiii., p. 108. 


hand, it exposed him to the intense hatred of the cardinals 
and the clergy, who seized him by night, and put him to 
death secretly."^'' 

In the ranks of the antagonists of Eome, of superstition, 
and of immorality, might be also seen men whose principles 
were, perhaps, not always founded on a simple faith in the 
pure gospel of Clirist. Such was Abailard, in Trance ; such 
was Arnaud of Brescia, in Italy. The latter dared, like 
Amulph, to attack Home in Eome itself. One word on 
his life and labours. Being a native of Brescia (Brixia), in 
Lombardy, he might have obtained a knowledge of the 
Vaudois doctrines, though history does not expressly affirm 
it. AYe are simply told that he was brought up in France, 
near the famous Abailard. His career was fall of adven- 
ture, and his labours seem to have been as much political 
as religious. On returning to his native country, having 
taken the habit of a monk, he began to preach. Having 
been excommimicated by the Lateran Council, under Inno- 
cent II., in the year 1139, he was obliged to take to flight. 
He retired to Zurich, in Switzerland, and there propagated 
his principles. Being denounced by St. Bernard to the 
bishop of Constance, he Avas disturbed in his retreat, and 
passed again into Italy. He was at Eome, in 1145, in 
the time of Eugenius in. St. Bernard of Clairvaux once 
more "s^Tote against him to cardinal Guide, warning him 
that " his conversation was honey, and his doctrine poison." 
" He has," he added, " the head of a dove, and the tail of 
a sequent." In his letter to the bishop of Constance, 
St. Bernard had involuntarily borne a favourable testimony 
to his enemy, when he said, ''I wish that the doctiine of 
Amaud of Brescia was as sound as his life is austere ; 
and, if you would know him, let me tell you that he is 
neither gluttonous nor a wine-bibber ; only, like the devil, 
he hungers and tliii^sts for the blood of souls." This refers 
to Ai-naud's zeal for converting the world to his doctrines. 
In his preaching he dwelt incessantly on the crying abuse 
of the power and wealth of the clergy. According to 
Otho of Freisingen, Arnaud declared, "that priests who 
had landed property, bishops who possessed the revenues 
of vacant benefices {regales), and monks who had estates, 

* Trithemius, or Chronica insignis, p. 157. — Leger, etc., pt. i., p. 152, who 
reports the facts a httle difFerently, according to Platina. 



could not be saved ; ^^ that all these things belonged to the 
sovereign, and that he ought not to grant them to any 
but laymen." The poet Gunther adds, ''that Arnaud 
despised the delicate meats, the splendid vestments, the 
misplaced pleasantries and boisterous mirth of the clergy, 
the ostentation of the pontiffs, the dissolute manners of the 
abbots, and the pride of the monks." 

After having succeeded in concealing himself a long time 
at Eome, where his political opinions were much relished 
by the citizens, he was at last arrested in 1155, and burned 
there by order of the prefect Peter. His ashes were 
thrown into the Tiber, to prevent his disciples from 
making relics of them.f 

AU these antagonists of Rome, who sustained the cause 
of truth in the twelfth centmy, and who were connected 
with each other by an analogous or common origin, as 
well as by features of resemblance of more than one kind, 
received from their enemies particular denominations, 
besides the common appellation of heretics. It would 
appear, also, that they were sometimes designated by 
names of their own choosing. Branded, in the eleventh 
century, with the name of Manichcans, as favourers of 
ancient heresies ; in the twelfth centmy, they were called 
Apostolicals, from their professing to lead lives worthy of 
the apostles. St. Bernard always gives them this title 
ironically, whether speaking of the disciples of Pierre de 
Bruis and Henry, or of the sectaries of Cologne. In 
the second half of the twelfth century, new designations 
were added to the preceding, according as the stream 
of pretended heresy flowed through new countries, and 
as some particular circumstance modified the course of 
this reformation more in its appearance than in realitj^. 
In various places, they bore the name of Cathari, or 
Purists, on account of the purity to wliich they aspired. | 
In Flanders, they were called Piphles, a word of unknown 
etjTuology ; in many parts of Prance, Texerans, or Tisse- 
rands (weavers), from the trade to wliich many of them 
belonged. The heretics of Aquitaine, who passed over to 
England about the year 1160, were called Poplicans, as 

* This is entirely in accordance with the principles of the apostohcals or 
t Otho of Freisingen, p. 248. — Natahs, t.vii.,pp. 88, 89. — Dupia and Flemy. 
X The details are given in Usher, p. 269, etc. 


well as those of Yezclay ; perhaps, because, in attacking 
pharisaic formalism, they insisted much on the humility, 
penitence, and faith of the publican in the gospel. The 
title Patarins, or Paterins, given in Italy and also in France 
to these same persons, was derived from the name of a 
quarter in Milan to which the married priests were ba- 
nished, in 1058, to celebrate their worship ; ^ or rather it 
is a synonym with persecuted, or those reserved for per- 
secution, from the verb ^^rt^/, wliich signifies to suffer.j It 
appears that they designated the heretical travellers, or 
missionaries, by the nickname Passagins.j They were 
also called Good Men {honi homines) in Germany and 
Prance. According to Gretser, when the innovators of 
Mayence were put down, the Inquisition demanded of 
them, ''How often have you confessed to the heresiarchs, 
that is, those good-men who come to you secretly, pre- 
tending that they are called, in the apostles' stead, to go 
thi'ough all the world from place to place, to preach, to 
shrive, etc, ?" § The same good-men were also called Per- 
fect {perfecti) by those of the same faith ; a term indicating 
their superiority over simple believers, who were designated 
by the name of The Consoled {consolati), on account of 
the peace of heart which the gospel communicated to 
them. II The reproachful name of Insabbates (mentioned 
for the first time by Eberard de Bethune under this 
form ; Xabatatenses, from xahatata, a kind of wooden 
sandal, ) was also given them ; because, said father Xatalis, 
they celebrate no sabbath or feast-days, and do not dis- 
continue their work on the days consecrated among the 
[Roman] Catholics to Christ, the blessed virgin, and the 

It was more usual in the following century, though 
several examples may be cited in the twelfth, to designate 
the friends of alleged novel doctrines by the names of 
their country or particular leaders. Such were the names 
— ^heretics of Provence, Toulouse, Agen, and Picardy; 

* According to Sigonius, De Regno Italico, book ix. 

t According to De Vineis, Epist., book i., epist. 27 or 96. 

J Usher, p. 306. 

§ Maxima Biblioth., P. P., t. sxiv., col, 1520, etc — Historiens des Gaules, 
t. xiii,, p. 173, 

II Usher, p. 293. 

•l Maxima Bibhoth., P, P.,t, xxiv,, cols, 1520, 1572, etc.— P. XataJis Alexandri, 
etc., t, \'ii., pp. 94-, 95, 

D 2 


Albigenses, Lombards, Bohemians ; Petrobrusians, from 
Pierre de Bruis ; Henricians, from Hem.y ; Arnaldists, from 
Arnaud of Brescia ; Arnoldists, from a companion of Yaldo ; 
Leonists, from Leon, etc. 

Lastly, and speciall)^, we must mention that denomination 
which is the most celebrated and most worthy of our best 
attention — we mean that of Yaudois, which was constantly 
given by [Roman] Catholic authors from the thirteenth 
century, not to any one of the subdivisions of the alleged 
heretical sect, but to the whole sect. A single testimony, 
amongst many, will suffice to convince us of the generality 
of this designation : it is a work which was written about 
the year 1254, by a celebrated inquisitor, Eainier, or 
E,einier Sacco, of the order of preaching friars, who per- 
secuted the Christians who were opposed to Rome. This 
work, which treats of all the heresies and pretended 
impieties that were attributed to the Cathari, Paterins, 
Toulousians, Albigenses, Passagins, Poor Men of Lyons, 
Arnaldists, etc., in a word, to the sectaries of the twelfth 
century, is entitled, Lkre de Rainier, de Vordre des 
precheurs, contre les heretiques Vaitdois (Valdenses), 
['' Book of Rainier, of the order of preachers, against the 
Yaudois heretics."] Prom this we infer, that, from the 
commencement of the thirteenth century, the name of 
Yaudois served to designate all the pretended heretics of 
the age. 

Moreover, an author of the twelfth century, Bernard de 
Poncald {Fontis-ccdidi, warm-spring), near Saint Pons, in 
Languedoc, who wrote, according to Dupin, about the year 
1180, gives the name Yaudois to the same heretics who 
are called Good Men in the acts of the Council of Lombers. 
"These Yaudois," he says, ''although condemned by the 
same sovereign pontiff (Lucius ii.), continued to diffuse 
with surpassing audacit}-, far and mde, through all the 
world, the poison of their perfidy. This is why Bernard, "^^ 
lord archbishop of Narbonne, opposed them (at the Coun- 
cil of Lombers, when bishop of Lodeve,) in the name of 
the church, as a fortress ; in fact, having assembled a 
considerable number of the clergy and laity, monks and 

* This Bernai'cT Gaucelin, bishop of Lodeve, conducted the cause at Lombers 
against the Good Men, and pronounced the sentence. He ):)ecanie archbishop 
of Narbonne in 1181. He does not appear in any other councils. See His- 
toriens des Gaules, t. xiv., p. 430. 


seculars, he brought them to trial. In a word, after their 
cause had been examined with great care, they were con- 
demned." The collection of the Historians of Gaul {His- 
toriens des G aides), in a summary which precedes the acts 
of the council, confirms, in part, the facts abeady men- 

This name of Yaudois (Yaldenses) given to heretics in 
the south of France, by an author of the same age and 
country, is an additional proof of the common origin of the 
religious manifestations on this side and beyond the AIjds, 
a confirmation of what we have stated, at the beginning of 
this chapter, of the intimate connexion of Pierre de Bruis 
and Henry with the Christians of the valleys of Piedmont, 
with the inheritors of the principles of Claude of Turin and 
the friends of Yisilantius. 


origij!^ of the ]S^AME vaudois. 

HisTOEicAL clearness, and, what is still more important, 
truth, equally demand an exact knowledge of the origin of 
the name Yaudois, which was given to reputed heretics of 
the twelfth and following centuries, in Prance, the north of 
Italy, and Germany. 

Three principal etymologies have been proposed. Ac- 
cording to some, it is derived from Yaldo, whose disciples 
were called the Poor Men of Lyons, with which epithet it 
may be considered as sj-non^mious ; according to others, 
Yaudois is derived from vaux (valleys), as Yallenses from 
the Latin word vallis, a valley, and Yaldenses (most gene- 
rally used) from vallis densa, a thick, or shaded valley. 
Lastly, in the opinion of others, the name Yaudois was a 
term of reproach, sjTionymous with sorcerer. 

Let us examine each of these etymologies. Alain de 
rile, or de Lille, who lived at the end of the twelfth 
century, ■]- and the beginning of the thirteenth, according to 

* Maxima Biblioth., P. P., t. xxiv., jap. 1585, 1586. 

t AccordiBor to Bossuet, he died in 1202 ; according to Xatalis, in 1181 ; Cave 
says that he flourished in 1215 ; and Visch, that he died in 1294. 


the most coniinon opinion, expresses himself as follows : — 
''There are certain heretics who pretend to be just, while 
they are wolves in sheep's clothing . . . They are 
called Yaldenses, from the name of their leader, Yaldus." 

Pierre de Yaux Cernay, or Sernay, an author known at 
the beginning of the thirteenth century, speaks, in his 
History of the Albigenses [Ilutoire des Albigeois), of the 
Yaudois who were spread among them. '' There are be- 
sides," he says, ''the heretics called Yaldenses, after the 
name of one Yaldius, of Lyons. "^' 

This author notices, as one of the four marks Avhich 
distinguish the Yaudois, the sandals which they wore after 
the manner of the apostles. But this usage may 1/e traced 
back to a date much more ancient than he assigns to it, in 
referring it to Yaldo ; since the companions of Henry, the 
promoters of the sect of the Albigenses, wore them, as well 
as the Yaudois missionaries, and were often called Xabata- 
tenses, from xahatata, as we have remarked in the j^receding 

Later [Roman] Catholic authors have agreed in admitting 
this etymology, which we rej ct with good reason, as will 
be seen. But before adducing our proofs, it will be proper 
to state what we know about Yaldus, or Yaldo, and his 

Pierre, a merchant and citizen of Lyons, called also by 
historians Pierre Yaldo, Yaldus, Yaldius, Yaldensis, or Yal- 
decius,! and Yaldesius, having been deeply affected by the 
sudden death of one of his friends, in a party of pleasure, 
formed the resolution of renouncing the world, and labour- 
ing thenceforth only for his salvation. | Luther, the cele- 
brated reformer of Germany in the sixteenth centurj^, 
entered a convent, and devoted himself to the concerns of 
religion, in consequence of a similar event. § Pierre gave 
his utmost attention to the reading of the Bible ; it is even 
said that he translated some books of it from the Latin 
into the vulgar tongue. He also applied himself to the 
study of the Fathers. Stephanus de Borbone, or de Bella- 

* Petri Monachi, coenobii valliiim Cernaii, etc. — Historia Albigensium, cap. 
ii., apud Duchesne. 

t According to Usher, p. 159. 

X This is Rahiier's opinion, wliichwe follow. Polichdorf, and an anonymous 
wiiter in the collection of the Historiens des Gardes, report the fact differently. 

§ Consult Merle D'Aubigne's excellent work on the Reformation [published 
by the ReUgious Tract Society.] 


villa, who giyes lis these particulars, adds : '' This citizen 
of Lyons) having often read these sentences and engraven 
them in his memorj-, determined to seek after that evan- 
gelical perfection which the apostles had practised. Havin«^ 
sold all his goods in contempt of the world, he distribute d 
the money he had gained to the poor, and dared to usurp 
the office of the apostles, preaching the gospel and the 
tilings he had committed to memory, in the sti'eets and 
public places. He encouraged men and women to do the 
same, whom he collected around him, and confirmed in the 
knowledge of the gospel. He sent men of all trades, even 
the meanest, into the surroimding coimtiy, to preach. 
These men and women, ignorant and illiterate, running 
over the country, gaining admission into town-halls ; and 
preaching in public places, and even in churches, excited 
others to do the same."^' 

Detachment from the world, and zeal for the advance- 
ment of the kingdom of Christ according to the gospel, 
were the characteristics of the religious movement that 
was abetted by PieiTe, the merchant of Lyons. It was in 
allusion to the fii'st of these peculiarities, the most striking 
in the eyes of the devotees of the world and of wealth, that 
the disciples of a man who had reduced liimself to poverry 
in order to follow Jesus Christ were called the Poor Men 
of Lyons. Their great success in the conversion of souls, 
the truly apostolic life of the former merchant, quickly 
drew on himself and his adherents a violent persecution. 
Anathematized and prosecuted bj' Jean de Bollesmanis, or 
Bellesmains, archbishop of Lyons, Pierre made his escape 
into Picardy, where he remained awhile. He then mth- 
drew into Yindelicia, the present Siiabia and Bavaria, where 
he sojourned a long time; at last, he went into Bohemia, 
and there ended his days.f 

Pierre, the merchant of Lyons, may be regarded as the 
most eminent continuator of the laboiu-s of Pierre de Bniis 
and Hemy. 

AVe now resume our inquiry respecting the name Vau- 
dois, which [Eoman] Catholic ^Titers have derived fi'om 

* Maxima Biblioth., P. P., t. xxv., p. 264. — Stephaniis de BorboDe (or de 
Bella\'LlIa) Liber de septem Donis Spuitus Sancti, pt. iv., cb.. xxx. ; in Echard, 
t. i. 

t Usher, p. 266, wbo quotes Tbuanus (De Tliou) Hist., c v. 


Valdo, as if lie had been the leader of the Yaudois sect, 
and the author of this reputed heresy. 

The Yaudois, they assert, received their name from that 
of Yaldo. 

(i.) We observe, that in the canons of councils, and 
other official documents relative to the disciples of Pierre, 
the merchant of Lyons, these persons never receive the 
appellation of Yaudois, but are always designated by the 
name of the Poor Men of L^^ons ; the name Yaldo is never 
mentioned further. A treatise of an anonymous author, 
quoted in Martene, on the heresy of the Paores of Lyons, 
never gives the name ofYaudois to Pierre's disciples; more- 
over, it never gives him the name Yaldo, but always that 
of Valdensis, that is, the Yaudois, which is very different ; 
for this designation, being equivalent to an adjective, would 
mark the origin of the religious opinions of the person to 
whose name it is affixed. 

(ii.) In the next place we remark, that Pierre, the mer- 
chant of Lyons, was not the originator of the religious move- 
ment which appeared in Prance before the commencement 
of the twelfth century, since he did not preach till about 
the year 1180; and if the reputed heretics of Agen, Tou- 
louse, Albi, and other places, were called Yaudois, this 
- name could not have been given them on account of Yaldo, 
as he was not their leader. 

(iii.) The name Yaudois could not be derived from that 
of the merchant of Lyons, for the name Yaldo never be- 
longed to him. In his time, about the year 1 1 80, it was 
still the custom to have only one name, that given at 
baptism, for family names had not then been brought into 
use : it is true that a particular designation was often 
added to the baptismal name, that, for instance, of a per- 
son's residence or profession. By this qualif3dng epithet, 
the individual in question was sufficiently distinguished 
from every other ; but our supposed leader of the sect 
of the Yaudois, whose name was Pierre, is ordinarily dis- 
tinguished by one of the following qualifications, — 
Pierre, a citizen of Lyons ; Pierre, a merchant, or trader 
of Lyons. 

It has been said that the appellation Yaldo, sometimes 
and subsequently given to Pierre, indicates the place of his 
origin, and may be considered as synonymous with native 


of Yaud, or VaJdum, or Vaudram, which might have been 
a Lj'omiese town. But why this double designation of 
jDlace ? Pierre was sufficiently, and very properly, distin- 
guished by that of citizen, or merchant, of Lyons, as he 
really was. Besides, Yaldo would be ver}- incorrectly de- 
rived from Yaldum, or A'audram, even on the gratuitous 
supposition that he was a native of such a town. The right 
word would have been Yaldunensis, or Yaudramensis. And 
even if this name Yaldo had been taken from the place of 
his birth, why all this uncertaint}" in the designaHon and 
orthography ? For PieiTe is called Yaldo, Yaldus, Yaldius, 
Yaldensis, Yaldecius, and Yaldesius, etc."^-* 

A siu-name so undecided, so varied in its form, so rarely 
employed diu'inghis lifetime to designate Pierre, f the mer- 
chant of Lyons, cannot be regarded as the root of a name 
so precise and invariable as that of Yaudois, given to the 
reputed sect that invaded France, Germany, Italy, Spain, 
etc., in the twelfth century ; while this uncertainty in the 
pronunciation and orthography of the appellative Yaldo, 
may be easily accoimted for, if we take it to be a siu'uame 
synonymous with Yaudois, an adjective equivalent to — the 

(iv.) A comparison of dates brings us to the same result, 
showing us that the Yaudois heretics, in Latin ValJenses, 
or Valdenses, were so known and designated before the 
time of Yaldo. 

It is a well-authenticated fact, that it was the archbishop 
Jean de Bollesmanis, or Bellesmains, who anatlismatized 
Yaldo and his disciples ; and it is certain that th:.; prelate 
obtained the see of Lyons in 1181, the date of the sitting 
at Yerona, of the council which, under Lucius in. con- 
demned, for the first time, the Poor Men of Lyons. 

It was not, then, earlier than the year 1181 that the 
heretics could be called Yaudois, from their supposed leader, 
Yaldo. But we can cite two authors who mention the 
Yaudois prior to the date of 1181. One of them is Eberard 
de Bethune, who, according to Duj)in, floimshed in the 
year 1160, and who, speaking of heretics, says, "Some of 
them call themselves Yallenses, because they live in a 

* Usher, p. 159. 

t We suppose that it may have been so used during his Ufetime, but we 
have no proof of it. 

D 3 


vale of sorrow or tears, and bring the apostles into 

The other writer, Bernard, abbot of Foncald, before 
quoted, thus expresses himself on the same subject :f — 
' ' AVhile pope Lucius, of glorious memory, presided over 
the holy lloman church, new heretics suddenly raised their 
heads, who received a name that was an omen of their 
future lot, being called Yaldenses, from a dark, dense 
valley, because they are involved in deep and thick shades. 
These heretics, although condemned by the sovereign 
pontiff above named, have, with unparalleled audacity, 
not ceased to emit their perfidious poison, far and vnde, 
throughout the world." The author of these lines having 
dedicated the book from which we have taken them to 
Lucius III., who was pope from 1181 to 1185, and men- 
tioning another pope of the same name, already deceased, 
of glorious memory, must allude to events that happened 
before 1144, the date of the death of Lucius ii.J The 
Yaldenses or Yaudois, were, therefore, ah^eady known by 
this name before 1144, and, consequently, long before 
Peter Yaldo, since he was not persecuted for heresy till 
after 1181, under Jean de Bellesmains, who anathematized 
him, and was only made archbishop of Lyons at this latter 

But, in the comparison of these particulars, we have 
something more than mere dates to go upon. The testi- 
monies of Eberard de Bethune and of Bernard de Foncald 
demonstrate, in another way, the baselessness, the vanity, 
and nullity of the [E-oman] Catholic opinion which derives 
the Yaudois heresy, and the name of Yaudois, from Yaldo ; 
so that even if it were possible to throw a doubt on the 
preceding evidence, by arguing the uncertainty of this or 
the other date, it would not be less certain than two authors 
prior to Pierre Yaldo (or contemporary, or even posterior, 
if you 2:)lcase — it signifies little), in naming the sect of the 

* Maxima BMioth., P. P., t. xxiv. 

t [Gieseler's] Lehi-buch der Kirchengeschichte, vol.ii., pt. ii.,p. 562, 3rd ed., 
Bonn, 1832. 

X A letter from a bishop of Liege to the same pope (LiTcius ii.) describes the 
heretics as " ancient enemies," who have spread themselves from Mount 
Guimar into Prance, and who have a settled organization and ecclesiastical 
discipline; but he gives them no particular name. Martene and Durand, 
Veterum Scriptormn et Monmnentoriim, t. i., col. 777. 

§ Beruai-d, in Maxima Bibhoth., P. P., t. xxv. 


Yauclois, make no mention of Yaldo ; and so far from 
derh-ing the name of these sectaries from the name of one 
of their leaders, they assign it a totally different and local 
origin. We say then to our opponents, If you admit that 
the ^vritings of Eberard and Bernard are prior to Yaldo and 
liis laboiu's, then you must also admit, since these authors 
name the sect of the Yauclois, that it was prior to Yaldo, 
and could not derive its name from his. But if you main- 
tain that Eberard and Bernard Tvere contemporaries of 
Yaldo, or posterior to him, j'ou must admit that since they 
attribute another origin to the sect of the Yaudois, and had 
better means of ascertaining the truth than you have, the 
name Yaudois was not derived fi'om Yaldo. 

We think, then, we have proved that the name Yaudois, 
given by [Eoman] Catholic writers to Christians, who 
were regarded as heretics in the twelfth centiuy, was not 
derived from the name of Yaldo. AYe rather believe that 
Pierre, a citizen and merchant of Lyons, was called Yaldo, 
on account of the resemblance of his laboiu's to those of the 
Yaudois ; perhaps, also, because he had been received into 
their communion, and instructed in part by them, — a con- 
jectiu'e neither impossible nor improbable, but which we 
shall not pursue any further.-'' 

The [Eoman] Catholic opinion on the origin of the name 
Yaudois is, therefore, en'oneous. 

Another etymology of the name Yaudois has been given. 
Eberard de Bethune, about the year 1160, says : — '' Certain 
heretics call themselves Yallenses (from rallis, a valley), 
because they dwell in a vale of sorrow or tears ;" and Ber- 
nard de Eoncald, about a.d. 1180, says, ''They were called 
Yaldenses (fr-om vallis densa, a shady valley, ) because they 
were enveloped in deep and thick darkness." Among the 
modems, Leger, in his " General History of the Yaudois'' 
{Histoire Generale des Yaudois), derives the name Yaudois 
from Yaux or Yal ; and an ancient pastor of the valley of 
San llartino, within the precincts of the Yaudois valleys, 

* This is the opinion of a Roman Catholic Piedmontese historian, who is no 
friend of the Vaudois ; we mean M. Charles Botta, who thus exjoresses himself 
in his remarkable History of Italy : " The Vaudois were thus called, either 
because they dwelt iu the VaUeys, or because Valdo, a celebrated lieresiarch 
of the twelfth century, coromuriicated his name to them after embracing their 
opinions." The anonymous writer, quoted by Martene, appears to have taken 
the same view as ourselves, siace he caUs the leader of the sect, Valdensis — 
the Vaudois. 


has declared that, according to tradition, the valley in which 
he dwells was once called Val Omhreuse (shady valley). 
Without absolutely rejecting an etjonology which is founded 
on the nature of the locality inhabited by the Yaudois, and 
even acknowledging that there is an apparent foundation 
for it in the Latin words, Vallenses and Valdenses, yet, as 
far as the Trench word, Vaudois, is concerned, we are in 
favour of the derivation given in '' The JS^oble Lesson." 

In fact, this venerable and original monument of the 
ancient Yaudois church — '' The JSToble Lesson" — assigns 
another etymology to the name Yaudois, the third to which 
we have referred, and the last that we have to examine. 
This precious mtness of the Yaudois faith, which is of the 
date 1100, expresses itself, in verses 368 — 372, in the fol- 
lowing manner : — 

[" Si n'i a alcun bon, que ame et tema Yeslm Xrist, 
Que non voiha maudire, ni jiirar, ni inentir, 
Ni avoutrar, ni aucir, ni penre de I'autruj-, 
Ni venjar se de li seo enemis 
nil dion qu'es Vaudes, e degne de punir."*] 

Which we translate thus : — 

" If there be any one who loves and fears Jesus Christ, 
Wlio will not curse, nor swear, nor he. 
Nor be unchaste, nor kill, nor take what is another's, 
Nor take vengeance on his enemies. 
They say that he is a Vaudes and worthy of punishment." 

Por a long time, this word Yaudes was taken to be only 
a variation of Yaudois ; but it is now acknowledged to 
contain a cruel reproach, and to be equivalent to an 
accusation of sorcery. The word Yaudes has, in fact, in the 
Romance language, the meaning of sorcerer, and has not 
yet ceased to be used in that sense in the patois of the can- 
ton de Yaud. 

This^ interpretation is also supported hj other proofs. 
Rubis, quoted by Perrin, says in express terms : " When 
they speak of a sorcerer, they call him Yaudes." We read 
in Mezeray's History of France, in reference to Joan of 
Arc, then m the power of the English, a.d. 1430, " Those 
members of the LTniversity who remained at Paris, the base 
slaves of English t5T:"anny, immediately urged that she 
might be handed over to the ecclesiastical power to bring 
her to trial as a Yaudoise — enchantress, heretic, impos- 

* See the original in Giesler, p. 561 ; HaUam's Middle Ages, with variations 
from Leger (p. 28), iii., 470 ; and in Morland's History of the EvangeUcal 
Chui-ches of Piedmont, foL, Lond., 1658, p. 114. 


tor, etc." The epithet Yaiidoise is placed here close by that 
of " enchantress."^' 

The monk Belvedere, in his report to the illustrious 
congregation for the propagation of the faith {de iwopagandd 
fide), printed at Tui^in in 1631, charges the Yaudois with 
sorcery, in the following passage : " The unfortunate 
valleys of Lucema, Angrogna, San Martino, and Perosa, 
owing to the vicinity of France to Italy, or to the mountains 
which naturally render them very strong, have always been 
subject to various plagues, either heretical locusts, or infidel 
cateriDillars, blight, or sorcery."t 

We see clearly, by this account of a Eomish inquisitor, 
that the valleys where the principal remains of the Yaudois 
chmx-h at present exist, were accused of having been always 
infected with sorcery, etc. 

In the times of ignorance, fanatical priests have accused of 
secret intercourse with the spirits of darkness those whom 
an enlightened faith or unbelief caused to withdraw from the 
[Eoman] Catholic churches. J The Eomish superstition — 
and a cruel system of persecution very often, for the pur- 
pose of exciting an ignorant people to frenzy — designated as 
sorcerers, men whose lives were perfectly free fi'om the sen- 
timents and actions imputed to them.g Is^ow, since it is a 
certain fact that the Yaudois have often been held up to 
popular hatred as sorcerers, can we be suriDrised if at a 
time when superstition and ignorance were at their height, 
the tenth and eleventh centuries, a name so odious was 
generally given to them, and was not withdrawn ? How- 
can we refuse to credit such a misapplication of the epi- 
thet, when we read in an anonymous author, quoted by 
Martene and Diu'and, and who wrote about the year 1447, 
'' that the Yaudois, by means of diabolical spells, assembled 

* Mezeray, Histoire de France, ii., 17. 

t Les fortunate valli de Lucema, Angrogna, S. Martmo, e Perosa, per la 
%^cinanza deUa Francia c'ha coU' Italia, oper la proportione di montuosi siti 
Che gli danno natural fortezza, sempre sono state soggette a varj flagelli ai 
eretiche locuste, o d'infidi bruchi, rubigni, o cavallette." Belvedere, cli. xiv., 
p 242. 

+ Costa de Beauregard quotes from Duboulay (t. iv.) an account of a concu- 
l)ine of a heresiarch monk, Dolcino, an eager propagator of Manicbeism in 
Bielli, Novan-a, and Vercelli, in tbe sLxteenth centmy, who passed for a witch, 
and adds that both were dismembered, cut in pieces, and burned, (t. i., p. 47.) 

S What Christian does not know that the Son of God was called a Samaritan 
b>y the Jews, and that they even said of him that he had a demon, and expeUed 
demons by the Prince of demons ? 


suddenly by night, being speedily transported, in great 
numbers, to some forest or lonely place."* 

The origin attributed to the name Vaudois, in " The 
E'oble Lesson," appears then to us to be justified by facts. 
It would be interesting and satisfactory, no doubt, to know 
at what period the little faithful church received a name 
equally unjust and odious ; but on this point proofs are 
wanting. All we know is, that it was prior to the twelfth 
century, as it is mentioned in '' The JS'oble Lesson," which 
was written, as the author himself intimates, in the year 

CHAPTER yill. 


Having given an account of the religious movement 
which agitated Prance and other countries in the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries, and which, as we have seen, pro- 
bably took its rise in the Alps situated between France and 
Italy, we must return to the Yaudois valleys, to resume the 
thread of their particular history, to recount their tradi- 
tions, and to explain the state of their church. 

Let us first notice some historical facts. Without going 
back to the documents cited in chapters iii. and iv., which 
attest the existence of a so-called heretical church in the 
bosom of the Alps, from the fourth century, we shall only 
remind the reader that at the commencement of the twelfth 
century, and long before Yaldo's time, the Chronicle of 
Saint Thron, in Belgium, written between 1108 and 1136 
by the abbot Eadulph, mentions a region of the Alps as 
polluted by an inveterate heresy ; and that Bruno d'Asti, 
about the year 1120, speaks of the Yaudois, though not 
designating them, it is true, by this name, but with sufiicient 
details, particularly in what he says of their traditions, to 
enable us to recognise them without difiiculty. 

To these testimonies, which are given at length in chap- 
ter IV., we add the following. 

* Veterum Scriptorum et Monumentorum, a Martene et Durand, t. v., 
col. 501. 


Honorius, a i^riest of Autim, at the beginnini^ of the 
twelfth centiuy, speaks of certain heretics, whom he calls 
Montani, or Mountaineers, and describes in these few 
words: "The Mountaineer heretics are thus named from 
the mountains. In the times of persecution they concealed 
themselves in the mountains, and separated from the body of 
the church." 

Eberard de Bethune, about the year 1160, expresses 
himself in terms but slightly different on the same subject : 
"The)* are called," he says, "Mountaineers; because, in 
a time of persecution, they concealed themselves in the 
mountains, and for this reason they erred in relation to the 
Catholic faith." And although this last author does not say 
that the heretics, whom he calls Yallenses in the twenty- 
fifth chapter of his book, and represents as missionaries 
come from a valley of tears, are the same as those whom he 
calls Montani, or Mountaineers, in the twenty- sixth chapter, 
yet he says nothing to the contrary ; for Eberard, in the 
long list he has made out of all possible sorts of heresy, 
passes over in silence the Yallenses whom he had before 
named, and cites only the Montani. This omission of the 
Yallenses can only be accounted for on the suxDposition that 
the Yallenses are the same as one of the classes of heretics 
whom he there names and describes. This is exceedingly 
probable, considering the resemblance of the signification 
in the names Montani, Mountaineers, and Yallenses, that is, 
inhabitants of the valleys ; and likewise, considering the 
analogy of the details he gives of the persecutions suffered by 
the Mountaineers, and those which afilicted the inhabitants 
of the vale of sorrow, or of tears. 

We may further add, that the name Montani was given 
to a people of Liguria, established in the Alps, adjacent to 
the Yagienni (at present the inhabitants of the marquisate 
of Saluzzo), and bordering on the Yaudois valleys.* 

And we need not be astonished that, according to this 
last explanation, the so-called Yaudois heresy should have 
extended more to the south in the mountains of Liguria, 
just as we have seen, in chapter iv., that it extended more 
to the east in Biella and ^^ovarra; for nothing is more 

* For Honorius, see Maxima Biblioth., P.P., t. xx., col. 1039; for Eberard, 
t. xxiv., cols. 1575—1577; for Montani, see Geographia Antiqua Cellarii, t. i., 
p. 518 ; or Plinii Geog., cap. xs. 


certain. Let our readers only call to mind what we have 
said of its conquests in Astesan, in the tenth centurjr. "We 
shall elsewhere have an opportunity of proving, by fresh 
details, this extension of the Yaudois church beyond the 
limits within which it is confined at the present day. 

An ancient ^Titer, Gioifredo, informs us that the Yaudois 
heresy, which he erroneously supposes to have proceeded 
from France, had already extended, in the year 1198, not 
only into the valleys of Angrogna, Lucerna, and San Martino, 
in the diocese of Turin, but also into the plain. " JS"ot 
content," he says, ''with remaining hid in the caverns of 
the mountains, they (the Yaudois) have had the audacity 
to sow false doctrine in the plains of Piedmont and Lom- 
bardy, fixing a centre at Bagnolo, from which circumstance 
it is believed that some of them have acquired the denomi- 
nation of heretics of Bagnolo," (Bagnolenses,) as Rainier 
Sacco writes, about the year 1250. This is why James, 
bishop of Turin, desirous of expelling this pestilence from 
his diocese, organized a persecution against them, after 
having obtained for that purpose, in the year 1198, a decree 
of the emperor Otho iv., to which we shall again refer in 
the sequel. "^^ 

Should it appear surprising that the Yaudois sect, or 
rather, the remains of the faithful church, could maintain 
itself so long without severe persecution, in the ancient 
diocese of Claude of Turin and elsewhere, in spite of the 
oppressive tendency of the E-omish church, we must repeat 
what we have said before, in chapter iv., of the political 
agitations and contests in the tenth and eleventh centimes, f 
during which the attention of the heads of the Eomisli 
church were turned away from the scattered remains of 
the faithful church, preoccupied as they were with their 
worldly interests, and with the dangers and advantages of 
their position as secular princes. 

One general cause which also favoured the preservation 
of various small companies of the faithful church, was the 
inherent vital power of Chiistian principle, which is such 

* See Gioffredo, Storia delle Alpi Maritime, in Monmnenta Historige Patrige, 
t. iii., p. -iSy ; cit. Spondanus, an. 1198. 

t The agitations and contests were carried to the greatest lengths in Pied- 
mont and Lombardy, where, to the elements of discord existing among in- 
numerable petty sovereignties, were joined the efforts of a number of free 
cities, wliich aimed at repelling these vexations for their own preservation. 


that it cannot be altered or perverted wherever it has spread 
its roots, except by a very slow process. 

Other special causes were combined with this general 
and powertiLL one. Thus, in the first place, the innovations 
adopted in the popish chui'ch, in regard to images, the 
mass, the real presence, etc., took a considerable time 
to spread themselves, as histoiy shows. In the second 
place, for a long time, nothing more was attempted than 
insensibly to undermine the ancient doctrines, to apologize 
for novelties, and to refute those who attacked the innova- 
tions. We may cite, as examples of this fact, the writings 
of St. Jerome against Yigilantius, of Jonas of Orleans 
against Claude of Tmin, of Pascase Eatbert against the 
ancient doctrine of the euchaiist, maintained a long time 
after by Berenger of Tours, and others. In the thii^d place, 
for a long time it was thought suf&cient to excommimicate 
and anathematize heretics, or those who were thought to 
be such. Of this the councils famish numerous examples. 
In course of time they proceeded to much greater lengths ; 
they shut up in cloisters and subjected to severe penance 
those whom they deemed opponents. But it was hardly 
till after the power of the popes had reached its height, in 
the time of Gregory vii. (Hildebrand), that here and there 
a few persons of note, holding opposite opinions, perished 
by a violent death, either by fire or sword. But systematic 
persecutions, such as the crusades and the horrible incjuisi- 
tion, are not of earlier date than Innocent in.* 

It is, then, easy to understand how fidelity and truth 
could be so long maintained, especially where cii'cumstances 
were favourable. 

It vnH be proper here to notice a circumstance of high 
importance, which serves forcibly to explain the fact of the 
preservation of evangelical truth, from the time of Claude 
of Turin, in the territory which is still occupied by the 
Yaudois ; it is this, that in the most remote feudal times 
these valleys were governed by a powerful lord, who held 
his domains directly of the empire, and was himself imbued 

* This remark may enable oiir readers to miderstand how, in proportion as 
the power of Rome, founded on falsehood by the spuit of falsehood, was able 
to maintain itself, it indulged in that excess of tyranny and barbarous cruelty, 
by which so much innocent blood was spilt from the' time of Innocent iii. to 
Innocent xi., under whom the revocation of the Edict of Is antes and the dis- 
persion of the Vaudois took place in 1685 and 1686. 


witli Yandois doctrines. This Yciy important fact is re- 
corded in the work we have already cited of a [Roman] 
Catholic author, who was better qualified than any other 
person to ascertain its truth — the marquis Costa de Eeaure- 
gard. These are his words : " Besides the earldoms (conites) 
which sprang from the great marquisates, we cannot doubt 
that there were others of very ancient date, created by the 
emperors in favoiu- of the principal barons of this country, 
and that they had only the simple titles of counts granted 
to some lords who held them inmiediately of the emperor. 
Such were the counts of Castellamonte, Blandra, Lucerna, 
and Piossasque, to whom the Picdmontese history gives 
this qualification, from the eleventh and twelfth centuries." 

According to this evidence, the counts of Lucerna, lords 
of the valleys,^' held immediately of the empire, and were, 
consequently, independent of every neighbouring prince; 
and so Httle was their power inferior to that of the counts 
and marquises in the vicinity, that in their valleys, which 
their natural position rendered easy to defend, they could 
protect their vassals against every foreign invasion. The 
same author adds, "We do not see, however, that the 
princes of Achaie, who lived so near them (the Yaudois), 
persecuted them. It is even believed that some of the 
counts of Lucerna, immediate vassals of the empire and 
principal lords of these valleys, at a very ancient period, 
shared their belief, f 

In the absence of other historical documents | the 
armorial bearings of the house of Lucerna are sufficient, it 
appears to us, to prove the fact just stated. They are 
symbolical; they present a flambeau {lucerna) emitting 
a brilliant light in the midst of darkness. The surround- 
ing device is explanatory — Lux lucet in tenelris, '■'•The light 
shmeth in darhness.^^ These armorial bearings and this 
device, which the Yaudois of the valle^^s, even to this day, 
love to regard as theirs, attest, by their symbolical signi- 

* Or, at least, of the valley of Lucerna. 

t Let it be recollected that this was also the case with the counts of 
Montfort m Astesan. See Memohes Historiques, etc., t. i., p. 64, t.ii., p. 51. 

% One dociunent, which certainly exists, would interest the Vaudois in more 
than one respect, namely, the treaty by which the comits of Lucerna. and the 
marfjuis of Angrogiia submitted to the house of Savoy. The conditions of 
this deed were certauilj^ favourable to the Vaudois. These were the franchises 
and religious hberties which they have always claimed, but, for the most part, 
in vain. 


fication, the antiqiiitj' of evangelical truth in the valleys of 
Piedmont. They attest that from the time when the name 
of Lncerna was given to the most considerable part of these 
valleys, and to its then count, that is, from the tenth or 
eleventh century, according to the testimony of the marquis 
Costa, a long time before Valdo, the light of the gospel 
shone in darkness, in the midst of the Romish superstitions 
which had spread over almost all the kingdoms of the 

We believe, then, that we have proved, as far as the 
absence of more precise docimients will permit, that the 
Yaudois of Piedmont are not a sect which owes its origin 
to Valdo, an accidental phenomenon of the twelfth century, 
an isolated religious movement, but a branch of the primi- 
tive chiu'ch preserved by a striking Divine intervention, 
flourishing apart in the midst of the rubbish which had 
covered the trunk that once noiuished it, and had crushed 
and withered all the other branches. The chuix-h of the val- 
leys was a young infant, that had escaped, unperceived, from 
the disaster which deprived its parent of life, and had lived 
concealed in desert places, among the valleys and rocks, till 
the day when it involuntarily attracted attention ; while its 
sisters, magnificently attired, forgot in slavery and cor- 
ruption the memory of their pious and faithful mother; 
and, by their levity and dissoluteness, forfeited the incor- 
ruptible inheritance which the Lord intended to have 
secured to them by his atoning death. 

For further illustration of the subject, we proceed to 
report the traditions of the Vaudois church. 



The Yaudois have a twofold tradition respecting their 
origin : one, more general ; the other, more in detail ; and 
both very exact. 

In all the persecutions they have passed through, from 


the fifteenth century and later, in the appeals they have 
made at different times to their sovereign, the Yaudois have 
always, as formerly, maintained that the rehgion they fol- 
lowed had been preserved from father to son, and from 
generation to generation, from time immemorial : Da ogni 
tempo, e da tempo immemoriale, (" from all time, and from 
time immemorial,") is the language of their appeals. 

Moreover, not only the Vaudois of Piedmont, but all 
those who have laid claim to the name, in all places, have 
constantly maintained that they received their way or 
religious belief from Leon, an associate and contemporary 
of Sylvester, bishop of Rome, under the emperor Constantino 
the Great. 

This tradition, under its second form, is more precise 
than the first, and rests on a historical basis. We read, in 
fact, in the Fasciculus Temporum, ''The temporalities of 
the church which the prelates began to possess about this 
time, (the time of Sylvester and Constantino,) often occa- 
sioned violent altercations among the doctors; some as- 
serting that it was just and advantageous for the church to 
have an abundance of temporal goods and worldly honours, 
and others maintaining the contrary." Leon was one of 
the latter, and would have preferred Christian liberty, with 
poverty, to a rich benefice, the possible cause of servility 
and dissoluteness. "^^ This tradition agrees with what Ho- 
uorius d'Autun and Eberard de Bethune, in the twelfth 
century, tells us of the Mountaineers (Montani;) that is, 
as we believe, of the Yaudois : '' That, in the times, of per- 
secution, they concealed themselves in the mountains, and 
separated themselves from the body of the church, or 
wandered from the Catholic faith." 

Should any one hesitate to regard this quotation as a 
confirmation of tradition, we would appeal to another by 
father Moneta, professor and inquisitor at Bologna, about 
the year 1244. Speaking of the Yaudois, in whom he was 
disposed to see only recent sectaries, this author expresses 
himself as follows : — ''It is evident that they take their 
origin from Yaldecius, a citizen of L^'ons, who commenced 
this work a little more or less than eighty years ago : thus 
they are not the successors of the primitive church, and 
therefore not the church of God. But if they assert that 

* Fasciculus Temporum, in Pistorio, t. ii., p. 47. 


theii' way was prior to Yaldo, let them show it by some 

By this passage we see, that if Moneta combats the 
antiquity of the Yaudois church, he nevertheless testifies 
that these reputed innovators regarded themselves as suc- 
cessors of the primitive church, as the church of God, 
and consequently maintained that their way was prior to 
Yaldo. This quotation clearly shows that about the year 
1244, eighty years or more after Yaldo, the Yaudois of 
Piedmont refused to admit the recent origin that was 
assigned them, and took their stand on a direct descent 
from the j)rimitive church. 

A second inquisitor, Peter Polichdorf, a German, ac- 
cording to some, a contemporary of Moneta, according to 
others, a century later, also says :—" The Yaudois heretics, 
those childi-en of iniquity, falsely pretend before foolish 
people that theii' sect has continued since the time of pope 
Sylvester ; that is to say, when the church began to possess 

The inquisitor Ptainier Sacco, a violent opponent of the 
Yaudois Cathari, among whom he had lived some years 
before entering the order of preaching friars or dominicans, 
and who wi'ote about the year 1250, not only speaks of this 
tradition, but gives many particulars besides, respecting the 
sect of the Leonists. After saying that of the seventy sects 
that were formed without the church, there only remained 
four, of which that of the Leonists was one, he adds : — 
''Of all the sects that exist or have existed, there never 
has been one so pernicious to the church as that of the 
Leonists ; and that for three reasons : first, because it is the 
most ancient, since, as some assert, it has been preseiwed 
from the time of Sylvester,— according to others from 
the days of the apostles ; secondly, it is the most widely 
spread, — ^in fact, there is hardly a country where it is not to 
be found ; thii^dly, while all other sects strike with hoiTor 
those who hear them, on account of their awful blasphemies 
against God, this of the Leonists manifests a great appear- 
ance of piety, inasmuch as its members live justly before 

* Venerabilis P. Moneta adversus Catharos et Valdenses, lib. v., cap. i., sec. 
4, Romee, 174>3. • o-q 

t Maxima Bibliotli., P. P., t. xxv., m proefat., cap. i. p. ^/». 


men, have true faith in God, and believe all the articles of 
the creed>' 

jS'otmthstanding the intentional or involuntary confusion 
of llainier in designating sects, confounding what he ought 
to sei^arate, and separating what he ought to unite, and 
although, in this particular case, he appears to confound 
the Leonists with the Poor Men of Lyons, there can be no 
doubt that, in what he says about the Leonists, in the pas- 
sage just quoted, he had in view, not the disciples of Yaldo, 
or Poor ]\Ien of Lyons, (since he assigns to the Leonists an 
origin prior to these last by several centuries,) but the 
Yaudois, whom the [Eoman] Catholics of his time already 
affected to confound mth the Poor Men of Lyons. Every- 
thing, in fact, that he says of the Leonists perfectly corre- 
sponds with what we know of the history and tradition of 
the Vaudois, and with what we shall exhibit in the sequel 
of their doctrine and piety. 

The etymology of the name Leonists is altogether favour- 
able to our views ; we cannot perceive in it a derivative 
from Lyons, while it seems perfectly natural to derive it 
fi^om Leon, with whom the Yaudois connect their religious 

Lastly, the tradition which we have reported of the 
origin of the Yaudois, is confirmed by an archbishoj^ of 
Tuiin, Claude de Seyssel, who from 1517 to 1520 occu- 
pied the diocese in which the Yaudois valleys are situated, 
and who had the means of acquiring an exact knowledge of 
their opinions. But as he only repeats what is known to 
us, and treats it as a fable or a tale, Ave shall spare our 
readers the quotation of the passage. f 

This tradition has also been preserved in the evangelical 
churches, the descendants of those of the valleys ; in Bohe- 
mia and Moravia, for instance. | 

But wo shall not dwell longer on this point : it is 
enough that we have well established its certainty. The 
value of such a tradition, to wliich the wi'itings of the Yau- 

* Maxima Bibliotli., P.P., t. xxv., caps. v. and ^d., p. 261, etc. 

t R. P. Claudii Seysselii, archiep., Taitrin. adversus errores et sectam Val- 
densiuni Tractatus, c. i. 

X Such a tradition is reported in the work entitled Histoire des Fersecutions 
de VEqllse de Boheme de SQi a 1632 (History of the Persecutions of the Church 
of Bohemia, from 894 to 1632). 


dois allude,^- as a proof in fovoui' of the antiqiiity of their 
church, ^sill a^Dpear indisputable to every honest and intel- 
ligent person. 


weiti:n"gs of the tatjdois. 

A STRiETXG testimony to the antiquity of the Yaudois 
church exists in the original manuscripts which it pos- 
sesses from the year 1100 to 1230; the greater part of 
them fifty years prior to the religious manifestation in 
which Pierre Yaldo took the lead. These works in verse 
and prose, in the Eomance or Yaudois language, form the 
stock of a great number of similar productions, animated 
with the same spirit, written in the same dialect, or in 
Latin, at different periods, but almost all prior to the 
Reformation of the sixteenth centuiy. 

To Leger, the historian and Yaudois pastor, we are 
indebted for the preservation of these precious memorials 
of the piety and ancient origin of the Yaudois church. 
Foreseeing, probably, the storm that was rising against it, 
and which, after giving portentous tokens of its approach 
duiing his life, terminated in the lamentable catastrophe of 
1686, Leger collected the ^^itings of the Yaudois and sent 
them, in 1658, to Sii' Samuel :Morland, the English ambas- 
sador at the court of Turin, who brought them to England, 
and deposited them in the libraiy of the university of Cam- 
bridge. Leger made a second collection, but smaller, 
which he deposited himself in the library of Geneva.f 

Above forty years before, about the year 1602, a number 
of Yaudois writings had abeady been sent to P. Perrin, by 
direction of a synod held in the valleys ; they had been 
coUected particularly in the valley of Pragela. This author 
has preserved a list of those that were in his possession.^ 

* An aUusion is made, amongst others, to this tradition, in the -i09th verse 
of " The Noble Lesson," in this expression, " AU the popes from byivester to 

t A catoloffue of both is given in an appenchx to the original of this work. 

t This hst^is also in the same appendix. Leger, part i., p. 74 ; V i.^^aux, a 
pastor who exercised his ministiy in the valleys for forty years from lo.39, col- 
lected, accorchng to Perrin, many manuscripts in his tune. It is to this good 


The general character of these writings is doctrinal and 
practical ; some are controversial. Their doctrines are ex- 
pounded in a very simple manner. We find there neither 
theological formulas nor systematic exposition, unless in 
the Catechism and Confession of Faith. Revealed truths 
are generally announced in their scriptural form. Instead 
of comments on grace, election, and predestination, these 
profound mysteries are taught in the terms which the Holy 
Spiiit has chosen. In such a frequent and faithful use of 
passages of Holy Scripture, the Yaudois barhes, or pastors, 
showed great wisdom. Although written at a period of 
general darkness, we can detect nothing exaggerated, 
nothing superstitious, in these documents of the religious 
life of the Yaudois. The moderation and propriety of 
their language, even on controverted topics, which are 
frequently touched on, never leaves them, and is more 
striking, since these qualities are extremely rare among 
their adversaries. Their spirit is a truly Christian spiiit. 

It is also to be observed in the ancient writings of the 
Yaudois, that doctrine, so far from being separated from 
morality, gives it constant support. Faith and piety, the 
contemplation of divine truths, and a life of obedience and 
devotedness to the Saviour, are invariably united in their 
literary j)roductions. They treat all Christian subjects with 
gravity and a practical aim ; the natural corruj)tion and misery 
of man, the remission of sins by the work of Jesus Christ, 
the fear and love of God, charity and brotherly love, for- 
giveness and endurance of injuries, watchfulness and prayer, 
humility, contempt of the world, detachment of the affec- 
tions from earthly objects, patience, resignation under the 
evils of life, the duties of pastors and spiritual guides,^' of 
husbands and wives, of parents and children. There must 
have been a profound knowledge of the gospel, a develop- 
ment of vital piety and Christian intelligence, in order to 

servant of God," says Perrin, " that we are indebted for the collection of these 
ancient works of the Vaudois ; for he gathered as many as he could find, and 
carefully preserved them. At the close of his life, he gave to certain indivi- 
duals the memoirs he had prepared respecting the Vaudois, and all the old 
books he had got together in the valleys." Vignaux himself says, " We have 
at hand some ancient books of the Vaudois, containing catechisms and ser- 
mons written in the vulgar tongue, wliich contams notlung that makes for the 
pope or popery. It is wonderful how they could see so clearly, in a time when 
the darkness was more intense than that of Egypt." — Perrin, Geneva, 1619. 

* They had and still have elders in every division of the parishes, whose 
busmess it was to presei-ve order and to afford consolation to the afflicted. 


reach so high a standard of ti^uth and morals at the end of 
the eleventh centuiy. 

Some of the Yaudois treatises are altogether polemical 
Ihe critical position of these evangelical Christians, exposed 
to the attacks of the Eomish church, rendered controversv 
unavoidable. They Tvere obliged to defend their faith and 
to explam their doctrines. Besides theii- Confession of 
J^aith and their Catechism, the Yaudois barbes composed 
polemical works on antichi'ist, imaginaiy purgatory, true 
purgatory, the invocation of saints, etc. 

Ainong the original works of the ancient Yaudois, we 
must reckon a translation of the Eible into the Eomance 
language. The numerous quotations made fi^om it in '' The 
mUe Lesson," in the - .inticlmst," and other treatises of 
that period, are proofs of it. Eut there is stiU more positive 
^^n • ^ • f ^'' <ieclares that he possessed it. In the Librarv 
at Cambridge, manuscripts of the books of the Bible, or of 
detached chapters, are deposited; and the Hbrary at Gre- 
noble boasts of having a complete manuscript of the ]N"ew 
Testament in the same dialect : there also exists a copy at 
n i'^ • ^^'"^'^ ^^^"^ informs us, that at the Eomish coun- 
cil, Held m 1179, under pope Alexander in., certain Yau- 
dois presented to that pontiff a volume wiitten in the old 
±reiich ^Gauloise) language, (then the Romance,) which 
contained the text of the Psalms and several books of the 
Uld and ^ew Testament, with a commentaiy.^- 

The important question of the authenticity of these 
writings will occupy oui' attention for a short time. It 
divides Itself into two principal points— theii- origin and 
tneir date. ° 

Everything goes to prove the Yaudois origin of these 
wntings. It was among the Yaudois, and nowhere else, 
that they were preserved and afterwards coUected. From 
whom did they receive them, and what motive could they 
have lor adopting the works of foreigners ? These moim- 
tameers were not devoted to Hteratui'e. The writings they 
possessed and preserved could only be their own. These 
books expressed nothing, more or less, than the behef and 
pious mtentions of the Yaudois believers through aU ages. 

ihe greater part of these wiitings is in the Yaudois 
language, a particular dialect of the Romance, as Raynouai'd 

* Uslier, p. 286. 


observes, who studied it carefully and profoundly. But 
this Eomance language, in the Vaudois dialect, continued 
to the Eeformation the constant language of the inhabitants 
of the valleys, the only one used in their religious services ; 
and it is still employed, in the present day, as a patois by 
the common people.^' We do not know that the Yaudois 
E-omance dialect has been spoken anywhere else. The 
writings, therefore, that have been collected among the 
Vaudois, and in their dialect, can only be theirs. 

Lastly, it is a fact attested by history, that the ancient 
Vaudois wrote books. An anonymous author of the thu"- 
teenth century says positively, in speaking of the Vaudois, 
" They have invented certain verses (measures), which 
they call the thirty degrees of St. Augustine, in which 
they teach, in some degree, the practice of virtue and to 
avoid vice, and have adroitly introduced their rites and 
heresies, that they may be learned more readily and im- 
pressed more strongly on the memory, as we recommend 
for the use of the laity the creed and the Lord's prayer; 
they have also invented other attractive wiitings {beaux 
Merits) with the same design. "f 

It is also stated, as we have seen, by Peter the Venerable, 
abbot of Clugny, that Henry, the false hermit as he was 
called, who, as we think, was very probably a Vaudois, 
wrote a book containing his opinions. But, as he has not 
given any further description of it, we have no means of 
judging whether this work was one of those in the cata- 
logue, in the appendix before mentioned. But from what 
Peter the Venerable has said, we may, at least, infer that, 
in his time, certain writings, called heretical, were extant; 
that is, at the commencement of the twelfth century.;}: 

The second question to be discussed, in order to demon- 
strate the authenticity of the writings of the Vaudois, 
relates to the dates they bear. It may be put in this 
form, — Are the writings of the Vaudois of the dates they 
profess to be ? Do their superscription and composition 
agree ? 

* Particularly in retired places, where the inhabitants have less intercourse 
with the Piechnontese. 

t D. Martene, Thesaurus Novus Anecdotorum, t. v., autore anonymo, Trac- 
tatus de Hseresi Pauperuni de Lugduno. The close of the article entitled, De 
Studio Pervertendi. 

X Petri Vener. Epist., quoted above. [See pp. 44, 45.] 


Among the ancient "writings of the Yaudois, five only 
have dates affixed to them. " The Noble Lesson" and the 
Catechism bear date a.d. 1100;*' the Treatise on Anti- 
christ and the Confession of Faith have that of 1120 ; and 
the Treatise on Purgatory that of the year 1126. Many 
moral j)oems, which Raynouard assigns to the epoch of 
" The jSToble Lesson," are without date, as well as the 
other manuscripts, one only excepted, which bears the 
date of 1230. 

The date of the Romance translation of the Bible must 
necessarily be earlier than that of all the other Yaudois 
writings, because there are scarcely any which do not 
contain passages from it. 

This circumstance, that five or six Yaudois manuscripts 
only have dates, is particularly favourable to their authen- 
ticity. If they had been affixed after the appearance of 
the writings, and without foundation, we do not see why 
the author of such a fraud should not have made use of it 
in reference to a greater number, or even to all. 

We, moreover, appeal to the testimony of Raynouard, in 
favour of the correctness of these dates. It is known that 
this modern writer has applied himself specially to the 
study of the Romance language, of which the Yaudois is 
a particular dialect, not differing from the rest, as, for 
example, the Provencal, excepting in certain terminations 
and some other slight peculiarities. Raynouard has proved 
the antic[uity of this Romance language. He has demon- 
strated its existence from the time of Charlemagne, in most 
of the countries that submitted to this prince, from the 
Rhine to Rome. He has explained its formation, and 
composed a grammar of it, with numerous examples. IS^ow, 
among these we have remarked a great number which are 
taken from the writings of the Yaudois, either their poetical 
pieces, or their translation of the ]N"ew Testament. f Thus 
the antiquity of the writings fr'om which these examples 
are taken is demonstrated. The author, it is true, does 
not express himseK categorically, excepting on the date of 
*' The IS'oble Lesson;" but we may judge, by the place he 

* " The Noble Lesson" contains its date in the following words, translated 

literally from the oriorinal: — "Eleven hundred years are now entirely past, 
since the hour was written," (v. 6). See the Appendix. [Hallam's History 
of the Middle Ages, iii., 467.] 
t These examples will be found, t. i., pp. 112, 113. 

E 2 


assigns in his work to the principal Yaudois documents, 
that he admitted the correctness of the dates they hear, 
and that he also considered many of their other writings to 
be very ancient ; for, in his Introduction on the Trouba- 
dours, after the pieces collected under the title of '' Actes et 
Titres" (Acts and Titles), from a.d. 960 and the following 
years, and which come down to 1080, he points out the 
Vaudois poetry, as forming a continuation of them in the 
order of time : hence we are authorized to believe that he 
judged not only those writings in verse of the Yaudois, 
wliich bear the date of the twelfth centmy, but also many 
others of their poetical pieces, to be very little later than 
the year 1080. 

E-ajmouard was so convinced of the antiquity of the 
Yaudois writings, that he has made use of them to prove 
the converse of our proposition; that is, to support his 
demonstrations on the language he had been studying. 
''If we reject," he says, ''the opinion of the existence of 
a primitive E-omance language, that is, of an intermediate 
idiom, which, by the decomposition of the language of the 
Romans, and the establishment of a new grammatical 
system, furnished the common type from which the 
different idioms of Latin Europe have been modified, it 
will be difficult to explain how, in the valleys of Piedmont, 
a people separated from others by their religious opinions, 
by their manners, and above all by their poverty, have 
spoken the Romance language from a very ancient period, 
and have made use of it to preserve and transmit the tradi- 
tion of their religious doctrines, a circumstance wliich 
attests the high antiquity of this idiom, in the country 
which this people inhabit."'^' 

The author goes on to say, " The poem of the 'Nobla 
Leyczon' bears the date of the year 1100. The sect of 
the Yaudois is, then, much more ancient than has been 
generally believed." And a little after : " The date of the 
year 1100, which we find given in this poem, merits all 
confidence. Persons who read it with attention will perceive 
that the manuscript has not been interpolated, etc. Lastly, 
the very style of the work, the form of the versification, the 
agreement of the two manuscripts, (that of Cambridge and 
that of Geneva, ) and the kind of various readings they pre- 

* Rayiiouard, t. ii. Introduction, p. cxxxvii. 


sent, all unite in favour of the authenticity of this poetical 

If Eaj-nouai'd, on account of the main object he had in 
view, has expressed himself more explicitly about the date 
of the Yaudois poems, yet he has equally acknowledged the 
antiquity of their prose wiitings : — " The treatise on Anti- 
chiist," he says, " bears the date of the year 1120." 

Thus we see that this distinguished writer, without pre- 
judice or any interested motive, and having only in ^dew 
the Romance language, after a long and profound study of 
the ancient religious documents of the Yaudois, pronounces 
them authentic, and confirms the correctness of their dates. 
Such a decision appears to us to be of very great weight. 

AYe ought not to omit, moreover, the remark, that " The 
JSToble Lesson" contains proofs of the coiTectness of the 
date it bears. Let us cite an example. AYe find such a 
proof in what it says in the 384tli and follo^dng verses, 
particularly in the 396th : '' He (the sinner) makes terms 
with the priest, to obtaiii absolution." The absolutions for 
money were granted in the most scandalous manner in the 
eleventh century, according to the Benedictines, the authors 
of the ''Literary History of France," who, in speaking of 
that period, say in so many words, — ''By means of a sum 
of money, the greatest offenders found priests who would 
readily give them absolution." jS'ow it was at the latter 
end of this centuiy that the author of '' The ]S^oble Lesson" 
wrote. ^'' 

If the authority of Raynouard puts the correctness of 
the date of the Yaudois poems beyond a doubt, we are 
able, in our tui'n, to bring forward, as in the case of '' The 
IN^oble Lesson," internal evidence of the authentic date of 
one of the prose ^Titings, that, namely, on Antichrist ; it 
is this : — 

Having defined Anticluist, the author continues, — '' Such 
is the man : accomplished in sin, he exalts himself above all 
that is called God, and that is worshipped ; he is opposed 
to all truth, and is seated in the temple of God, that is, in 
the chuiX'h, making himself to be God ; he comes with all 
sorts of seductions for those that perish. And since this 
rebel has akeady reached his perfect state, we are no longer 
to wait for him, (or to seek out who he is,) for by God's 
permission he has reached old age, since he already shows 

* Histoire Litteraire de France, t. Xii., pp. 5, 6. 


signs of decrepitude. In fact, his power and authority are 
diminished, and the Lord Jesus destroys this rebel by the 
breath of his mouth, by means of many men of good will, 
and causes a power to interfere which is opposed to him 
and to his adherents ; he overtlirows the places in which he 
dwells, and his possessions, and causes division in that city 
of Babj^lon, where each successive generation has acquired 
a fresh vigour of maliciousness." 

The Antichiist of the Yaudois treatise is the Komish 
religious system, its agents and its ritual, the pope, and the 
idolatry of wliich he is the centre. History shows that in 
the year 1120, the time when this work was composed, the 
Romish system had attained its height, and was beginning 
to decline, for a while at least. In the person of Gregory 
VII, — the ancient monk, Hildebrand — the papacy attained 
its greatest power, and displayed the most audacious pre- 
tensions. It was towards the close of the eleventh century, 
that is, on the 25th of January, 1077, that the temporal 
power humbled itself before the usurped authority of the 
pretended successor of St. Peter, when the unfortunate 
emperor, Henry iv., for a long time the most powerful 
prince in Europe, waited for three days, fasting and 
standing barefoot in the snow, till the proud rival of his 
power deigned to pardon him, take off his excommunication, 
and restore to him the right of governing his own dominions. 

The victory of Rome was complete under Hildebrand, 
but their maturity of power bordered closely on decay, 
as the treatise on Antichi'lst expresses it in the passage 
quoted above : — " The rebel has reached old age, and 
already shows signs of decrepitude." In fact, what does 
history tells us? Henry iv., deceived in his attempt at 
a generous reconciliation, again seized the crown which 
Hildebrand believed he had wrested fi'om him, collected an 
aimj, made himself master of Rome in 1084, established 
pope Clement iii., by whom he was crowned afresh, and 
drove Gregory vii. into exile, who died at Salerno. Lite- 
rally, ''Jesus," as the passage we have quoted asserts, 
" slew this rebel Antichrist by the breath of his mouth, by 
means of many men of good will, and by causing an anta- 
gonist power to interfere." Rome was then closely pressed 
by a long siege, and, having been taken by assault, " the 
places where Antichrist dwelt were overthrown." 

Henry v., like his father, defended the imperial crown 


against the renewed pretensions of the popes who succeeded 
Hildebrand. In the year 1111, he came to Home at the 
head of a numerous army, overawed the city, and threw 
Pascal II. into prison. The treaty of peace with this pope 
having been annulled when he regained his liberty, after the 
emperor's departure, Henry marched a second time to 
Eome, entered it in triumph, drove out his adversary, and 
nominated another pope, Gregory viii., who crowned him 
a second time. Eome still struggled, and, after Pascal's 
death, attempted to appoint his successor without the 
emperor's concurrence in the person of Gelasius ii. But 
this new pope was driven from Eome, and Henry's nominee, 
Gregory, kept possession of the papal throne, by the will 
of the emperor. This took place in 1118. 

There can be no doubt that the Yaudois treatise on 
Antichrist alludes to these events : the very terms of the 
passage to which we have referred are evidence of this. 
The date of 1120, which the treatise bears, cannot, then, 
be fairly disputed, supported as it is by so striking a 
historical agreement. 

Some objections have been raised r. gainst the authenticity 
of the dates of the Yaudois wiitings ; and although, alter 
what has just been said, they will not possess much weight, 
we feel it right to examine them. 

It has been remarked, that in some Yaudois treatises, 
particularly in that on Antichiist, the quotations of passages 
from the word of God have the notation of chapters and verses, 
besides that of the book ; and it has been thence inferred 
that the origin of the writing was much more recent than 
that indicated by the date, since it can be shown that the 
division of the Bible into chapters and verses was not made 
before the tliirteenth century, about the year 1250. But, 
for this objection to have any force, it must be proved that 
the manuscripts on which this discrepancy is charged are 
the very originals ; since, on the other hand, if they are 
only copies of a more recent date, we may readily imder- 
stand, that, for the instruction of their readers, the copyists,* 
who, T\ithout doubt, were the barbes, or Yaudois pastors, 
availing themselves of theu" acquaintance ^vith tliis useful 
di^dsion, added the notation of the chapters and verses, 

* Adinitting that there might have been other copyists beside the barbes, it 
cannot be doubted, from the fact of then- employment, that they possessed the 
requisite knowledge. 


mthout thereby subjecting the text to any falsification or 
deterioration. We have a stronger warrant for admitting 
this explanation, because all the quotations are not accom- 
panied with the notation of chapters and verses, which 
would probably have been the case, had this useful addition 
been made by the author himself. 

That the writings of the Yaudois were in fact often 
copied, is what we should suppose, from the habitual and 
almost daily use made of them by the catechumens of the 
pastors, by the pastors themselves in their ministerial 
labours, and by the believers in general, who sought for 
weapons against their adversaries in the arsenal of their 
national and religious literature, as well as in the Bible. 
But as regards one work, " The Noble Lesson," a different 
solution may be given of the difficulty. Raynouard has 
settled, that the two manuscripts extant of this poem were 
copied at distant intervals, or from different manuscripts, 
because in one the preposition avee {loith) is expressed by 
mi, and in the other by cum ; and he concludes that the 
Cambridge manuscript, which has always au, is more an- 
cient than that of Geneva, which has cmnJ^ 

The authenticity of some books has also been disputed, 
because they contain quotations from the fathers. This re- 
mark applies particularly to the tract on purgatory of the 
date 1126. The ancient Yaudois, it is said, acknowledged 
in matters of faith no authority but that of the Bible ; they 
never cited the fathers ; therefore the tract on purgatory is 
not genuine. But it is easy to reply, that, maintaining 
their principle perfectly inviolate, that the Bible alone is 
of authority in matters of faith, the Yaudois could demon- 
strate the error of their adversaries on purgatory and other 
points, b}^ appealing to the testimony of those fathers of the 
church, on whom the Roman catholics principally rested 
their doctrine. 

An anonymous and quite modern author has made 
another more serious objection against the tract on purga- 
tory, although, by a strange mistake, he imagines that he 
is urging it against the work on Antichrist. He justly 
observes, that the Yaudois writing at the beginning of the 
twelfth century quotes a more recent work, namely, the 

* The prepositions au and con are both in use at the present day, in different 
locahties, but with precisely the same signification. Au mi, con mi, both mean, 
with me. 


MiUeloqiiium of St. Aiigiistin, which is a compilation 
from the wiitiiigs of that father made by one Augustinus 
Triumphus, who appeared with applause at the Sorbonne, 
and at the council of Lyons in 1274. Certainly this 
objection is very forcible and startling ; how can it l3e met 
and refuted? By the mention of a very simple fact, 
ah-eady stated, namely, that the writings of the Yaudois 
were often copied, and sometimes, we may add, with con- 
siderable vaiiations. It has been proved, in fact, that the 
extracts published by Leger from the Purgatoiy, and which 
gave rise to the objection, were taken fi-om an abridgment, 
and not from the original treatise, which is of far greater 
extent ; a treatise which exists among the manuscripts in 
the library of Geneva, and is numbered 208. The author 
of the abridgment has cited the Milleloquimn, which doubt- 
less was at hand ; while the original treatise frequently 
quotes St. Augustin himself, at one time from his book on 
the sacraments, at another from his work on the doctrines 
of the gosj)el, and again from a discourse on the words, 
'^ Drimkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Here 
it is that the passage occurs, '' My brethren, let no man 
deceive himself; there are only two places," (that is, para- 
dise and hell,) '' the thii'd (pui'gatory) does not exist at all," 
etc. Any one may convince himself of the fact. 

Do not the numerous quotations from St. Augustin, in 
this treatise, authorize us in supposing that the anony- 
mous author of the twelfth century, quoted above and 
printed in Martene, refers to it when he mentions a Yaudois 
writing called '' The Thirty Degrees of Saint Augustin ?" 
And then, what will the objection raised against it signify ? 

Lastly, it has been remarked, that these wiitings speak 
of the persecutions endured by the Yaudois ; and hence it 
is inferred that they could not be productions of the twelfth 
century, since they were not persecuted in theii' valleys till 
a much later period. But this objection falls to the ground, 
if, on the one hand, we reflect that there might be persecu- 
tions of which history has preserved no record ; and on the 
other, if it be granted that the heretics destroyed by fire 
and sword, at Asti, Orleans, Toulouse, Arras, and other 
places, in the eleventh centiuy, were regarded as brethren 
by the Yaudois. 

The authenticity of the Yaudois wiitings of the vear 1 100, 

E 3 


1120, 1126, and 1230, being once admitted, we believe it is 
in our power to deduce from them the antiquity of the 
church from which they proceeded. It is not, in fact, at 
its first rise, that a religious society exhibits its doctrines 
and its practice in munerous writings ; for, before opinions 
are reduced to formal statements, they must be settled and 
fixed in the minds of men ; and so, also, before those cha- 
racteristics, whether general or particular, that compose the 
life of a society are committed to writing, the facts from 
which they are deduced must have had time to take place. 
In a word, it is not at the epoch of its formation, but at 
that of its full growth and maturity, that a religious society 
abounds in books of edification, instruction, and contro- 
versy, and in Christian poetry. It appears to us, then, to 
be demonstrated, that in the year 1100, the date of the 
poem of '' The IN'oble Lesson" and of the Vaudois Cate- 
chism, the church of the valleys, far from being merely in 
the dawn of evangelical light and in the first stages of its 
development, had already attained the age of strength and 
reflection ; and since no fact is mentioned in history which 
explains in what way the Yaudois doctrine penetrated into 
the valleys, during the two or three preceding centuries, 
while many facts render its existence probable from the 
time of Claude of Turin, and even earlier, it follows that 
the Yaudois church, which produced such remarkable 
writings at the commencement of the twelfth century, was 
a continuation of that which this faithful bishop instructed. 
She had lived in obscurity, training and fortifying herself, 
preparing for the combat, from the days of this pious 
successor of the apostles till those in which a Pierre de 
Bruis, a Heiuy, and so many other courageous disciples of 
Christ, were seen descending from the mountains, bringing 
with them the fragrance of the pure gospel ; and till the 
appearance of these religious writings in the Eomance 
language, which were designed to proclaim the truths of 
revelation, and to hold up to imitation the holy life of the 
children of God. From being feeble and- timid, the Yau- 
dois church became strong and courageous. Repose no 
longer suited her fidelity. She renounced it in publishing 
her thoughts ; she did more — she proceeded to make a 
succession of sacrifices in order to achieve the triumph of 
the truth ! 




The belief of the Vaiidois has, like their waitings, a strongly 
marked character of fidelity to the Scriptures, and thus is 
found to be in harmony, on all essential points, with the 
faith of the primitive church, and the different eTangehcal 
churches to which the reformation gave birth. 

A complete and minute parallel between the Yaudois 
doctrines and those of the primitive church would detain us 
too long ; we must confine ourselves to the j^rineipal features. 

And in the first place, we remark, that the Yaudois 
remained faithful to the pure tradition of the church of the 
fij'st ages, in what concerns the source and rule of the 
Christian faith. With them the source of the truth was 
entirely and only in the word of God ; and they recognised 
as such, the canonical books of the Old Testament, which 
the Jews had already received as inspired, and the books of 
the New Testament, such as were generally in use. As to 
the books which the Jews have transmitted to us as apo- 
cryphal, they said, '^ We read them for the instruction of 
the people, but not to confirm the authority of the doc- 
trines of the church."^ 

As to the rule of their faith, they rejected every point of 
doctrine which did not appear to them conformable to the 
instructions and spirit of the word of God ; at the same 
time, they professed to believe and observe everything 
which it reveals and ordains. This mse and faithful rule 
served them as a fence against error, and an answer to the 
attacks of their adversaries. Prove by the Holy. Scriptures 
that we are in error, (they said to such persons, ) and we are 
ready to submit. From the most remote period this de- 
claration, always the same in spirit, if not in express terms, 
was one of the distinctive features of their religious phy- 
siognomy. Taking literally that injunction of the Spirit of 
God respecting revealed truth, ^' Ye shall not add imto the 
word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish 
aught from it;" the ancient Yaudois constantly rejected 
doctrines that were based on authority and human tradi- 

* See Confession of Faith, Article iii. 


tion ; they repelled, with holy indignation and horror, 
images, crosses, and relics, as objects of veneration or wor- 
ship ; the adoration and intercession of the blessed virgin 
Mary and the saints; they consequently rejected the feasts 
consecrated to these same saints, the prayers addressed to 
them, the incense and tapers that were burned in their ho- 
nour ; they likewise rejected the mass, auricular confession, 
purgatory, extreme unction, and prayers for the dead, holy 
water. Lent, abstinence from meat at certain times and on 
certain days, imposed fasts and penances, processions, pil- 
grimages, the celibacy of the clergy, monkery, etc., etc. 
Their declaration on these points is as explicit as it is 

'' We have always believed," they say in their Confession 
of faith of the year 1120, (articles 10 and 11,) " that all 
things invented by men, such as the feasts and vigils of the 
saints, holy water, abstinence on certain days from meat and 
other kinds of food, and, in short, all such things, and espe- 
cially masses, are an abomination, which ought not to be 
mentioned in the presence of God. We hold in abomina- 
tion human inventions as antichristian ; inventions for 
which we are disturbed, and which are prejudicial to 
liberty of spirit." 

We nowhere find that the Yaudois occupied themselves 
with the vain questions that have often been agitated mth 
warmth, such as the perpetual virginity of Mary, and her 
pretended dignity as mother of God, her nativity, assump- 
tion, and other such points, of which no mention is made 
in the Holy Scriptures. 

The Yaudois subscribed, moreover, to the articles of the 
Apostles' Creed. We read at the head of their confession 
of faith — '' We believe and maintain fij^mly all that is con- 
tained in the twelve articles of what is called the Apostles' 
Creed, regarding as heresy whatever is not conformable to 
it." They also received the Athanasian Creed, which is 
found among the manuscripts in their language, and the 
decisions of the first four general councils, as not departing 
from the rule of doctrine maintained among them, namely, 
the word of God.^' 

To specify the belief of the Yaudois on some fundamental 
points, we add that their faith in God is scriptural. '' We 

* See Leger, vol. i. p. 116. 


believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," they 
say in art. 2 of their Confession, *' This God, all-powei-ful, 
all-^se, and all-good, has made all things by liis good- 
ness." (Ai't 3.) 

In reference to man they express themselves thus : '' God 
formed Adam in his image and in his likeness ; but thi'ough 
the malice of the de\il, and by Adam's disobedience, sin 
entered into the world, and all are sinners in Adam and by 
Adam." (Art. 4.) 

They received the doctrine of redemption in its simpli- 
city and pimty. With them, salvation is gratuitous; it 
is a gift of God through the work of Jesus Christ, a gift 
granted to all those who believe. '' AYe believe," (say they, 
art. 7,) *' that Christ is to us life, truth, peace and right- 
eousness, Shepherd and Advocate, sacrifice and Priest ; that 
he died for the salvation of all believers, and rose again for 
our justification." 

Their belief respecting the state of men after death is 
perfectly conformable to the gospel. We read in the 9th 
article of their confession of faith, *'We believe, like- 
wise, that after this life there are only two abodes (places) ; 
the one for those who are saved, which we call paradise, 
and the other for the lost, which we call hell ; we deny 
altogether that purgatory di-eamt of by Antichrist, and 
imagined contrary to the truth." 

The Yaudois admitted only the two sacraments instituted 
by Jesus Christ, namely, baptism and the holy supper, 
which they administered conformably to their institution. 
''We believe," they say in art. 12, "that the sacraments 
are signs or visible forms of invisible graces. We main- 
tain that it is good for the faithful sometimes to use these 
said signs or visible forms, if it can be done ; and yet we 
believe and maintain that the faithful may be saved without 
receiving the said signs, if they have neither place nor 
means for using them." And they add (art. 13), ''We 
have known no other sacraments besides baj)tism and the 

The Yaudois were not forgetful of one essential point 
for the true disciples of Jesus Chidst, submission to the 
civil power, and which it was desirable to specify, in order 
to shut the mouths of gainsayers who charged them with 
not recognising the authority of the magistrate. " We 


are bound," they declare, in art. 14, ''to honour the 
secular power by submission, obedience, good-will, and the 
payment of tribute." After the example of the first 
Clu^istians, and according to the order of their Divine 
Master, they rendered to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, 
and to God the things that are God's. 

Such, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, was the 
belief of the Vaudois, as exliibited in their writings, from 
the year 1100 to 1126, and in their other treatises. 

It may, perhaps, be noticed, that no mention is made in 
a special mamier of some particular doctrines, such as 
election, predestination, and grace. This silence seems to 
show, that they followed and received in simplicity of heart 
the declarations of Scripture, without indulging a desire to 
penetrate these profound mysteries. 

To complete this brief exposition of the doctrine pro- 
fessed by the ancient Yaudois, it remains for us to lay 
before our readers some of the opinions that have been 
passed upon them, and the accounts which have been 
given by Catholic writers, their adversaries. Certainly, as 
might be expected, the Yaudois doctrines have not been 
presented by them in an advantageous light, and very 
often they have been distorted; nevertheless, it is not 
difficult to distinguish the truth in their statements from 
the error or falsehood. 

One of these adversaries of the Yaudois, father Richini, 
accuses them of maintaining that it is not necessary to 
confess to men, but that it is sufficient to confess to God ; 
that external penances are not necessary for salvation ; and 
that when the sinner repents of his sins, whatever may be 
their number, if death surprises him in this state, he goes 
straight to paradise. 

Though it is not probable that the Yaudois expressed 
themselves in terms so little befitting the subject as the 
preceding, yet we acknowledge that the doctrine thus an- 
nounced was essentially theirs. 'Not having seen in the 
Holy Scriptures the obligation of confession to the priest, 
or of penances, they confined themselves to confession 
of sins to God, on which they insisted with so much the 
more force; and they believed, according to the gospel, 
that a sincere repentance, united to a living faith in the 
Saviour, sufficed to obtain from the Divine mercy the 


pardon of sin, and an entrance into the kingdom of 

According to father Eichini, the Yaudois also said, — 
''that all good men are, as such, priests; and that every 
individual in a state of grace has as much power to grant 

absolution as we acknowledge the pope to possess 

They despise the absolutions and excommunications of the 
church, saying that none but God is able to excommuni- 
cate." The most ancient authors express themselves in 
the same manner.-'' 

This statement is correct ; the Yaudois acknowledging 
in no man the right to absolve sins otherwise than by de- 
claring to every believer that Christ has delivered liim from 
condemnation, could afiirm that every believer had as much 
right as any one, whoever he might be, consequently as 
the pope himself, to declare the believer absolved or saved, 
by announcing to every contrite and believing heart the 
benefit of the death of Jesus Christ. As to the pretended 
right which the E-omish chiuxh arrogated to itself of binding 
or absolving, we may see the ^dew taken of it by the Yaudois, 
by reading in " The Xoble Lesson" of the year 1100, from 
verse 378 to the 413th, and in the treatise on Antichrist of 
the year 1120, to the fifth and sixth paragraph. f 

" They ridicule the papal indulgences," Eichini says 
again, '' absolutions, the power of the keys conferred on the 
church, the dedication and consecration of churches or 
altars, calling these ceremonies feasts of stones. They say 
that the whole earth is equally consecrated and blessed of 
God; for this reason they acknowledge no peculiar sacred- 
ness either in cemeteries or churches." 

It is well known that the Yaudois were often reduced to 
the precarious state of the fii^st Christians. The congre- 
gation met in the first place that offered, oftentimes under 
the vault of heaven, in a desert, in woods, or in caves. 
They never imagined that the temple imparted sanctity- to 
the persons assembled, nor that any value could be attached 
to the mere building ; for the whole earth belonged to the 
Lord. Jesus taught the Samaritan woman by Jacob's well, 
and his disciples on a mountain, by the sea-shore, or in a 

* Richini, Dissertatio sectmda, cap. iii. de Valdensibus in libros Moneta. — 
Rainier and Polichdorf, c. xxxiii.— Eberard, cap. xii.— Moneta, liv. v., cap. 5. 
■ t See the Appendix to the original work. 


ship, as well as in the temple at Jerusalem. If the Yaudois 
condemned the dedication and consecration of churches or 
altars, designating them "feasts of stones," it was because 
the presence of the Lord consecrates the church ; and it is 
by prayer, and not by ceremonies, that this blessing is 
obtained. As for cemeteries, they could hold them in little 
esteem, on account of the purity of their faith and their 
exalted hopes. Of what importance could the place of rest 
for their mortal remains be to them, while expecting the 
resiuTCction ? Their only desire was, that their souls might 
be admitted into the presence of their Lord ; yet it is loiown 
that the Albigensian Yaudois, the disciples of Pierre de 
Bruis and Henry, had cemeteries. 

In the Gestes of Toulouse, Mcolas Bertrand says posi- 
tively, on the authority of Guillaume de Puylaurens : — 
''As to the ceremonies and rites of the church, they reject 
them entirely, and make them an object of derision; for, 
according to Eainier, they ridicule altars and their conse- 
cration, vases and sacred furniture, sacerdotal ornaments, 
wax-tapers, incense, holy water, and other religious rites. 
They not only reject saints' days, but also theii' invocation; 
they despise relics, and the canonization of saints; and 
refuse all credence to the miracles which God works at their 
tombs by their intercession. They affirm that there is no 
being but God, to whom every kind of adoration is due ; 
accordingly, they proscribe all adoration and honoiu* ren- 
dered to the cross — to what we believe to be the body of 
Jesus Christ, to saints and their images."^' 

It would seem, by this account, as if the Yaudois, in 
combating Romish errors, em^^loyed no weapons but those 
of derision and contempt ; but this is plainly an exaggera- 
tion, as any one may con\T^nce himself, by taking a glance 
at their ^Titings. The knowledge of the truth imparts a 
better inspiration to its defenders. Severity of language is 
often united with the persuasive efforts of charity ; and if 
irony sometimes escape the lips, it is by accident and in 
the presence of hypocritical adversaries. 

Catholic wi^iters have also said, '' The Yaudois ridicule 
religious singing and Divine service, and say that it is 

* Richini, loc. cit. — Polichdorf, clis. xvi., xx., xxii., xxiii., xxxiii. — Bernard 
de Foncald, ch. xii. — Ermangard, ch.s. viii., ix. — Eberard, ch. xvii. — Moneta, 
liv. v., chs. i., ii., iii., viii., and x. 


insulting to God to sing what vre msh to utter to him, as 
if he could not understand our prayers without our chant- 
ing them." 

This account is incoiTect ; the Vaudois could not object 
to singing in churches, and psalms and hymns ; for they 
would have condemned what God has ordained in his word, 
to which they were so submissive. Besides, we cannot 
doubt that they themselves would have admitted, as an act 
of worship, the singing of God's praises, since any one may 
see, in the library at Geneva, man}^ hymns of the ancient 
Yaudois, forming in the whole a considerable collection 
(the Geneva manuscript.) It cannot, then, be questioned 
that the censures they expressed related to the abuses of 
the Romish church in singing in an unknown tongue, and 
in substituting masses, and other chanted services, for acts 
of worship in " spirit and in truth." 

*' The Yaudois," it is also said, "maintain that those 
who do not observe the prescribed fasts, and who eat meat 
according to their own pleasure, commit no sin, provided 
they do not give offence to others : thus, in private, they 
eat meat on any day and in any place whatever, provided 
no one takes offence at it.""^ 

This testimony is honoiu'able ; it confirms our con- 
^'iction that the Yaudois had no other rule of faith than 
the word of God, and they knew how to unite charity and 

Eichini says again, " They accuse of sin whoever jDro- 
nounces or executes a capital sentence ; they regard as 
homicides and reprobates those who preach crusades against 
the Saracens or Albigenses." Eainier reports (chap, v.) 
that the Yaudois regard the pope and all the bishops as 
homicides on account of the wars {i^ropter lella.) Moneta 
treats the same subject at length, in his fifth book, 
chap, xiii. 

Must the first proposition be understood as expressing 
an absolute disapproval of capital pimishment ? We know 
not how to understand it otherwise. But it is, at least, 
very striking to see this important question already re- 
solved by the Yaudois of the twelfth century. As to the 
censiu^e passed on those who excited others to war, and 
particularly on the pope and bishops who preached in 

* Ibid. 


favour of the crusades, and took part in many other wars, 
we find it perfectly in harmony with what we know of the 
reverence of the Yaudois for the spirit of the gospel. 

An old anonymous writer, already quoted, thus expresses 
himself : — " The Yaudois afiii'm, that the clergy and priests 
who have riches and possessions are childi-en of the devil, 
and the creatures of perdition. They condemn as guilty of 
sin those who pay them tithes and make them offerings. 
They say that this is, as it were, fattening lard." 

Eainier discusses this question more at length. He 
writes: — " These heretics teach that we ought not to pay 
tithes, because they were not paid in the primitive church : 
that priests and monks ought not to have prebends nor 
possessions ; that bishops and abbots ought not to enjoy the 
revenues of vacant bishoprics; that they ought not to 
divide among themselves land and population; that it 
was wi^ong to endow monasteries and chiu"ches, and to 
make wills in their favour; that churches ought not to 
possess any revenue, but that the clergy ought, after the 
example of the apostles, to labour with their own hands 
tor their livelihood."^' 

As it is true that the Yaudois taught and practised 
detachment from the world ; that they censiu^ed avarice, 
covetousness, worldliness, and sensuality, and that their 
barbes or pastors laboiu^d with their own hands for their 
subsistence ; as it is undeniable that the Romish clergy of 
the middle ages thought more about getting rich and en- 
joying themselves than being models of Christian virtue ; it 
may be easily understood and explained how the Yaudois 
indulged in no measured reproaches, and perhaps some- 
times exaggerated, in its application, a principle that in 
itself was just. 

As to the authority of the church in matters of faith, it 
is very true that the Yaudois refused to every ecclesiastical 
or other body, and to every individual, the right of fixing 
the sense of Scripture in an absolute manner, — of imposing 
their interpretation as a rule of faith ; in a word, of adding 
to, or taking from the word of God, under the pretext of 
giving it greater clearness. But it is an exaggerated state- 
ment to pretend that the Yaudois made no account of 
councils and the fathers of the church. Their writings 

* Richini, ibid,— Polichdorf, ch, i.— Eberard, ch. x.— Moneta, liv. v., ch, 8. 


prove that they cited them, not, it is true, as a rule of 
faith, but as a support and confirmation of their manner 
of viewing ti'uth confonnably to the Holy ScriptuiTS. 

It cannot, then, be denied that the Vaudois doctrine 
■was pure, as far as it is given to human weakness to ex- 
press it, since it flowed only fi'om the word of God, 
received with a humble and submissive heart. 



''Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit," said the 
Head of the church, oiu- Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. ^ii. 17.) 
According to this invariable rule, a church that pretends to 
be foimded on the word of truth ought to give proof of its 
being so, by institutions, usages, and practices, in which 
faith, humiJjt}', zeal, the love of God and one's neighbour, 
renunciation of the world, purity of heart, and all the other 
fruits of the Spirit, are exhibited. Such vii'tues were not 
wanting to the Yaudois church. We shall have occasion 
to point out numerous and sublime examples of them in 
the course of this history, as the facts come under our 
notice. Eor the present, we shall describe the organiza- 
tion of the ancient Yaudois church, and the principal 
features that distinguish it. 

One imquestionable proof of the piety of the Yaudois 
church is the stiict and eminently evangelical discipline 
which it established. This Discipline has been handed 
down to our times, having been preserved in the habits 
and obedience of all, been laid down in authentic statutes, 
and copied in ancient manuscripts. AYithout being able to 
assign a precise date to the copy of it which we have, and 
which the historian Leger has preserved for us, we can 
affirm that it was prior to the Eefbnnation, as is shown by 
the testimony of the reformers Bucer and Melancthon who 
approved of it.^*' 

Its simplicity and severity also attest its antiquity. 

* Leger, Histoii-e Generale, part i., pp. 190—199. 


^' Discipline," as the document from which, we are extract- 
ing asserts, ''is an assemblage of all the moral doctrine 
taught by Jesus Clirist and the apostles, showing to each 
individual the manner in which he ought to live and walk 
worthily in the righteousness which is by faith, agreeably 
to the calling he has received, and what ought to be the 
communion of the faithful in the same love of good, and 
the same departure from evil." 

" To attain this object, the church has pastors who 
direct it. Great care is exercised, so as not to consecrate 
any to this office but true believers." In fact, the 
aspirants to this important charge were required to give 
proof of their humility and sincere desire to consecrate 
themselves to the work of the ministry. The barbes,* or 
pastors, trained their successors : — "We give them lessons," 
they sa}^ in their Discipline; ''we make them learn by 
heart the whole of St. Matthew and St. John, and all 
the canonical epistles, a good part of the wiitings of 
Solomon, of David, and the prophets. And afterwards, if 
a good testimony is borne to their character, they are 
admitted by the imposition of hands to the office of 
preaching." The right of consecrating them was vested 
in the pastors. " Among other powers which God has 
given his servants, he has given them power to choose 
leaders (pastors) who may govern the people, and to 
appoint elders to their offices, according to the diversity of 
their employments, in the unity of Christ, as the apostle 
proves in his ejDistle to Titus (chap. i. 5) : ' For this cause 
left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the 
things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city 
as I had appointed thee.' " 

As to the discipline of the pastors, it is said : — " When- 
ever any one of our pastors has fallen into any disgraceful 
sin, he is expelled from our society, and the office of 
preaching is taken from him." As to their support, it is 
said: — " Our food and clotliing are supplied and given to 
us gratuitously, and in the way of alms, as much as is 

* The title Barhes, anciently given to the Vaudois pastors, is synonymous 
with the word uncle. It is now no longer given to them. L^ger says that 
after the year 1630, when the plague had carried off all the Vaudois barbes 
with the exception of two (or three), Genevese and French pastors were intro- 
duced, whom the people saluted respectfully hy the title of Monsieur le pasteur. 
Nevertheless, the word barbe is not quite obsolete ; it is still used as a term 
of respect in addressing an old man, etc. 


needed, by the good people whom we teach." The barbes, 
moreover, all applied themselves to some useful art, par- 
ticularly medicine and siu'gery. 

No hierarchichal distinction was established; the only 
difference that existed between the pastors was that arising 
fi'om age, or services performed, and personal respect. 

'' The barbes usually assembled once a year in a general 
synod to consult respecting the affairs of their ministry, 
most frequently in the month of September," says our 
historian, Gilles. ''In these synods," he adds, "they 
examined and admitted to the holy ministry such students 
as appeared qualified, and also named those who were to 
travel to distant chiurches."'^' We learn in the sequel, that 
the space of time ordinarily assigned to their mission was 
two years. They were to remain in their distant stations, 
till other pastors came to take their places. The pastors 
who were fitted for these expeditions undertook them 
courageously, although they were often exposed to much 

Gilles states further, in speaking of times not so ancient : 
" They also had extraordinary meetings by deputies from 
all parts of Europe, where Yaudois churches existed. 
Such was the synod held at Laux (Laos), in the valley of 
Clusone, in the time of our immediate ancestors, when one 
hundred and forty pastors of the Yaudois met together 
from different countries."! 

These facts are confirmed by many writers. In the 
bull of pope John xxii., addressed to Jean de Badis, 
inquisitor in the diocese of IMarseilles, at the beginning of 
the fourteenth century, we read among other things : — " It 
has come to our ears, that in the valleys of Lucerna, Perosa, 
etc., the Yaudois (Yaldenses) heretics have increased and 
multiplied, so as to form frequent assemblies in a kind of 
chapters, in which they meet to the number of five 
hundred." It can only be to the synods that this passage 

Tradition reports that the school of the Yaudois barbes 

* When did this long-established practice commence ? It would be very 
interesting to have some iaformation on this point. It would perhaps account 
for the existence of so many unknown priests who are often referred to in this 

t Gilles, Histoire Ecclesiastique, pp. 16, 17. Geneva, 16J4. 


was in a retired glen, the Pra-di-torre, in the centre of the 
mountains of Angrogna. 

It appears that some pastors were married; while the 
greater part were not so, though not on account of its 
being prohibited, but that they might be more free for the 
service of the Lord.* 

The elders {^regidors) were chosen by the people (and 
from among the people) to collect the alms and offerings. 
The money they received was taken by them to the general 
council, and there, in the presence of all, handed over to 
their superiors. One portion was reserved by the latter 
for those who were to go to distant parts as the messengers 
of Christ, as vn.ll be mentioned afterward, (chap, xiii.,) 
and another was appropriated to the poor. A third part 
was allotted to the support of the barbes. 

The instruction of the children formed an important 
part of the Discipline. '' Children," it is said, '' must be 
rendered spiritual towards God, by means of discipline and 
instruction. He who instructs his son confounds the 
enemy, and when the father dies he may almost be said 
not to be deceased, for he leaves behind him a li^dng like- 
ness. Therefore instruct thy son in the fear of the Lord, 
and in the way of holy habits, and of the faith. Further- 
more, hast thou daughters ? watch over them, lest they err. 
For Dinah, Jacob's daughter, corrupted herself, from having 
exposed herself to the eyes of strangers." 

Fraternal correction was established as well as ecclesias- 
tical. '' Correction is to be administered in order to 
inspire fear, and to punish those who are not faithful, and 
that they may be delivered from their wickedness and 
restored to sound doctrine — to faith, charity, hope, and 
everything that is good." Firmness, prudence, and cha- 
rity were observed in the administration of reproof. If the 
offender resisted brotherly exhortations, and his fault had 
been serious and public, should he refuse to amend, eccle- 
siastical penalties were inflicted on him. He might be 
deprived ''of all assistance from the church, of the minis- 
try, of the fellowship of the church, and of union with it." 

The frequenting of taverns, " those foimtains of sin and 
schools of the devil, where he works miracles of his o^vn 
kind," were prohibited, as well as dancing, ''which is a 

* Gilles, Ibidem. 


procession and pageant of the evil spiiit. In the dance, 
the devil tempts men by means of women in three ways — 
by touch, sight, and hearing. In the dance, God's ten 
commandments are broken ; the hearts of men are intoxi- 
cated with temporal joys; they forget God, they utter 
nothing but falsehood and folly, and abandon themselves 
to pride and cupidity." 

The Discipline regulated marriage, and required the con- 
sent of parents ; and, in short, recapitulated in a smnmary 
mamier the principal rules of Christian conduct contained 
in the gospel. 

An ecclesiastical organization so powerful, and so con- 
formed to the spiiit of the gospel, could be derived only 
fi-om one source ; namely, an acquaintance with the word 
of life, and an habitual submission to its precepts thi'ough 

A familiar acquaintance with the Bible, and submission 
to its teachings, formed, in fact, the distinctive feature of 
the ancient Yaudois. The investigation of the Holy Scrip- 
tures was not the duty or the privilege of the barbes alone 
and their pupils ; the layman, the laborious rustic, the 
humble artisan, the mountain cowherd, the mother of a 
family, the young girl watching the cattle and working the 
while with her spindle, studied the Bible attentively and 
conscientiously. The inquisitor Rainier reports that some 
of the common people could repeat the whole of the book 
of Job, which is certainly not an easy task, and many of 
the psalms. The same author puts into the mouth of a 
Yaudois missionary the follo^\TJig words : ''Among us, it 
is an unusual thing if a woman cannot rej)eat, as well as 
a man, the whole of the text in the vulgar tongue." 
Assuredly Eainier could not have made such assertions 
^Hthout foundation. 

So laborious and general a study of the word of God 
among a people, forms of itself alone the indication of 
a character deeply serious and reflective, and eminently 
moral. It implies a wide development of reUgious senti- 
ment, as well as ancient and venerable habits of piety. 
A fruit of faith, it is like fruits which have in themselves 
the germ of a plant of the same kind ; it possesses, in its 
turn, the principle of its reproduction, at the same time 
that it nourishes souls who are already rendered fruitful. 


Yes ; the constant study of the Bible, which is a work of 
faith to the believer, becomes, to him who witnesses it, seed 
which will germinate in due time, while it continues to be 
also vital nourishment to the faith that is still weak. 

One of the agents of Eome in the persecutions against 
the Yaudois, the inquisitor E-ainier Sacco, has done them 
justice, in his book against the Yaldenses, when he says, 
" The heretics may be known by their manners and their 
language ; for they are well-ordered and modest in theii' 
manners ; they avoid pride in their dress, the materials of 
which are neither expensive nor mean. They do not 
engage in mercantile pursuits, in order that they may 
avoid temptations to falsehood, swearing, and fraud. They 
live by their labour as artisans ; their men of learning are 
likewise shoemakers. They do not amass wealth, but con- 
tent themselves with what is necessary. They are chaste, 
especially the Leonists. They are temperate in eating and 
drinking. They do not frequent taverns or dances, and are 
not addicted to other vanities. They are on their guard 
against the indulgence of anger. They labour constantly. 
They study and teach ; they also pray, but little. 
They may be known also by their concise and modest 
discourse ; they guard against indulging in jesting, slander, 
or profanity. "■^•' 

We claim also the testimony of St. Bernard. The 
heretics of whom he speaks are not, it is true, the Yaudois 
of the valleys of Piedmont, but the}^ are, as we think has 
been proved, their disciples, their childi*en and bretliren in 
the faith, their companions in labour — those who in the 
south of France were called Apostolicals, because they 
aspired, like every Christian friend of the gospel, to repro- 
duce, in their language and actions, the doctrine and life of 
the apostles. Along with reports dictated by prejudice 
and the ill-mil of a partisan of Rome, the writings of 
St. Bernard contain some remarkable concessions. Re- 
proaching the heretics for refusing to take an oath, he asks 
them on what passage of the New Testament they support 
their practice. And then he acknowledges that " they 
glory" (though erroneously in his opinion) "in following 
it to every iota." This single feature says much. Men 

* Maxima Biblioth, P. P., t. xxv., clis. iii. and vii., cols. 263, 264, 272.— See 
also a similar passage by another author, col. 275. 


who studied scrupulously to follow the gospel, and who for 
conscience' sake, and to obey their Lord, refused to take 
an oath, could not but be moral men. St. Bernard, carried 
away by his prejudices, accuses '' this wicked heresy of 
being skilful in l}ing not only in speaking, but also in the 
actions of the life. If you ask," he says, *Svhat is its faith? 
nothing is more Christian ; if you ask, what is its manner 
of life ? nothing is more irreproachable. And it proves 
what it says by the effects. In testimony of his faith, you 
see a man frequent the chiu-ch, honour the priests, make 
liis offerings, confess, and partake of the sacraments. 
AVhat can be more faithful ? ->' In regard to life and man- 
ners, he strikes no one; he cii'cimivents no one; he does 
not exalt himself above any one. Fastings render him 
pale ; he never eats the bread of idleness, but laboui^s with 
his own hands for his liveliliood."f 

An archbishop of Turin, Claude de Seyssel, who, about 
the year 1517, endeavoui'ed to di'aw the Yaudois of the 
Piedinontese valleys within the pale of the Eomish chuixh, 
attests, that " as to their life and manners, they were irre- 
proachable among men, applying themselves with all their 
power to the observance of the commandments of God.":J: 

De Thou, in his Universal History, has preseiwed the 
account given to Francis i. by Guillaume du Bellay de 
Langey, who had been commissioned by that prince to 
collect information respecting the Vaudois of Provence, 
Merindol, Cabrieres, etc., colonies of the Yaudois of Pied- 
mont. '' He found," says the author, '' by the most exact 
scrutiny, that those who were called Yaudois were persons 
who, for tlu'ee centuries, had received from certain lords 
some uncidtivated lands on certain conditions; who, by 
indefatigable labour and constant cultivation, had made 
them fertile in com and pasturage ; that they knew how 
to endure toil and privations with patience; that they 
abhorred quarrels and law-suits ; that they were compas- 

* This would be scarcely honourable for the Vaudois ; but we may venture 
to say, that the imputed fact was only true for a short time, or in individual 
cases. The Chiistians mentioned here 1iy St. Bernard were, perhaps, only 
recently converted when he came to Toulouse and other places, and he has 
attributed to the generahty what was true only of persons who were timid and 
imperfectly convinced. It should be particularly obsei-ved, that Rome was 
not yet entirely sunk in its errors and sui^erstitions, since heretics were per- 
mitted to preach, as Henry at Mans, etc. 

t Divi Bernardi Opera; Parisiis, 1548, Sermo 65, pp. 170 and 171. 

t Leger, pt. i., p. 184. 



sionate towards the poor ; that they paid with much exact- 
ness and fidelity tribute to the king and the dues to their 
lords; that their continual prayers and the innocence of 
their manners made it sufficiently aj)parent that they 
honoured God sincerely." "^ 

Lastly, a Piedmontese historian, Botta, in speaking of 
more modern times, remarks, " In short, the Vaudois, 
whether it was the effect of their religion, of their poverty, 
of their feebleness, or of the persecutions which they 
endiu'ed, have preserved integrity of manners, and it can- 
not be said that they threw off the reins of authority in 
order to yield to the impetuosity of the passions." f 

After these various proofs and all these testimonies, it 
must be acknowledged that the ancient Yaudois honoured 
by their character, their words, and their life, the profes- 
sion they made of submitting in all things to the gospel. 




A PROMINENT feature in the religious physiognomy of the 
ancient Vaudois, and one which merits special attention, is 
their spirit of proselytism and their missionary zeal. In 
this respect, also, the Vaudois church resembled that of the 
first Christians. 

With a deeper sense of the blessedness of knowing and 
serving God, according to the pure gospel of Jesus Clmst, 
the more that the adjacent countries were continually sink- 
ing lower into the errors and superstitions of Rome, the 
Vaudois church was sensible of the duty that resulted from 
her position and her obligations to her supreme Head. She 
was aware that if she had received and preserved the faith 
by the reading and preaching of the word of life, she was 
also bound, in gratitude to the Saviour, and from love to 
her brethren who were plunged in error, to make known to 
them that gospel which is " the power of God unto salva- 

* Histoire Universelle, par De Thou, Bale, 17-42, t. i., p. 539. 
t Storia d'ltalia di Carlo Botta, Parigi, 1832, t. i., 369, 370. 


tion to eveiy one that believeth;" in a word, to fulfil the 
duty expressed by the apostle of the Gentiles, and even lonpj 
before by king David, in these words, " I believed, ^nd 
therefore have I spoken," 2 Cor. iv. 13; Psa. exvi. 10. 

The church which engraved on its seal a torch burning 
in darkness, with this motto. Lux liicet in tenehris, — 
(''the light sliineth in darkness,") this church was not 
unmindful to put in practice the Saviour's injimction, on 
"v^^hich that image was founded, and which is thus expressed : 
'' iS^either do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, 
but on a candlestick ; and it giveth light unto all that are in 
the house. Let vour light so shine before men," Matt. v. 
15, 16. 

Bernard de Foncald, a E-onian Catholic author of the 
twelfth century, speaking of the members of the Vaudois 
sect that were spread through France, says, " They* all 
2^reach here and there, without distinction of age or sex ; 
and maintain that every one who knows the word of God 
ought to spread it among the people and preach it." An 
anonpnous writer of the following century expresses him- 
self in these terms in his treatise on the heresy of the Poor 
Men of Lyons : '' They (the Yaudois) emj)loy all their zeal 
in drawing numbers with them into error. They teach 
very yoimg girls the Gospels and the Epistles, that they 
may be habituated to embrace error fi'om their infancy; 
and when they have learned a little in these books, they use 
their utmost efforts to teach it to others, wherever they may 
happen to be, if they consent to hear them favourably."*-' 

It was, no doubt, a dread of the efforts of this well known 
spirit of proselytism, which induced the magistrates of 
Pinerolo, in the year 1220, to prohibit the inhabitants of 
that city and its enwons, at the risk of a penalty, from 
showing hospitality to a Yaudois man or woman. f 

It is also an incontestable fact, that the Yaudois churcli 
sent out numerous and active missionaries in all directions. 
The ancient Discipline of the evangelical churches of Pied- 
mont, cited at length in the preceding chapter, is a proof of 
it ; for it tells us that a part of the money collected by the 
elders was placed by them in the hands of their superiors, 

* Maxima Biblioth., P. P. xxiv. cols. 1586—1600. In Martene, etc Tracta- 
tus de Hgeresi pauperum de Lugdiino, auctore anonymo. 
t Liber Statutonun civitatis Pinaroli. Augiistse Taurinorum, anno 1603. 

F 2 


Avho distributed it to those who went to distant parts. 
Gilles, in his Ecclesiastical History, gives some interesting 
details and facts relative to the Yaudois missionaries, at a 
more recent period, it is true, but yet prior to the Reforma- 
tion. These details illustrate the application and develop- 
ment of the very brief article in the Discipline, which 
was itself, no doubt, a summary of the ancient practice of 
the church. 

The same writer states that the barbes in theii' ordinary 
synods " examined and admitted the students who were 
eligible for the sacred ministry, and nominated those who 
were to travel and to go to distant churches in Calabria, 
Apulia, Sicily, and other parts of Italy, and also in other 
countries. This mission was ordinarily for two years, and 
continued till the places were supplied with other pastors, 
sent*by another synod of the Yalleys." 

He adds, in the following chapter (iii.), ''it (the sj-mod,) 
generally sent them out two and two ; one, who was more 
familiar with the places, roads, persons, and affairs, and 
the other belonging to the newly- chosen, in order that he 
might acquire practical knowledge," etc.*'' 

The author likewise informs us that a minister of the 
same name as himself, Gilles, was more than once employed 
as a missionary in Calabria, about the time when the Ee- 
formation broke out. Gilles adds, on this subject, a singular 
fact, which we think worth recording. " The pastors," he 
says, "who were fitted for foreign service, readily under- 
took it, although generally attended with considerable dan- 
ger, because it was for the honour of God and the salvation 
of men : the barbes also accustomed their disciples, from 
the first, to such implicit obedience that none of them 
would have dared to attempt anything important without 
the advice and permission of their leaders."! 

We conceive that this entire submissiveness of the younger 
barbes to the more aged and to the leaders, has led Roman 
Catholic authors into an error, and made them believe 
that the Yaudois had a clerical hierarchy, like themselves, 
of bishops, etc. But nothing in their history or writings 
authorizes us to believe in the existence of any other dis- 
tinction among the barbes, excepting that of age, expe- 
rience, and personal qualities, which determined their 

* Gilles, pp. 16, 17, 20, etc. t Ibid, p. 16, 17. 


choice of leaders as circumstances might require, as is still 
practised, aud no doubt was always practised, in this 

In support and confinnation of what has been said of 
the missionary zeal of the Yaudois, we may refer to the 
religious manifestations of the eleventh and twelfth cen- 
times, called forth by some well-known foreigners, as 
PieiTe de Bruis and Henrj', for example; others by un- 
known indi"ST.duals, as the female who came from Italy, 
to whom the heresy at Orleans is attributed. 

Even their adversaries acknowledge the fact. Thus 
Eberard de Bethiuie, speaking of the Vallenses, whom he 
also calls Xabatatenses says, ''They cannot visit and sec 
foreign countries, without endeavouring to pass for so 
many Christs,"^' that is,' he says, for Christians, disciples 
of their Master. We attach the same meaning to the 
following passage from Bernard de Foncald : ''These 
Yaldenses, although condemned by the same sovereign 
pontiff (Lucius ii.), continued to pour forth, ^yiih daring 
effrontery, far and wide, all over the world, the poison of 
their perfidy." f 

Mapee is till more explicit, when, speaking of the 
Yaudois who appeared at the Lateran council in 1179, 
he adds, "These people have no settled home anywhere; 
they travel here and there, two and two, barefooted, in a 
woollen dress, professing nothing, and having all things 
common like the apostles." :j: 

The inquisitor Sacco (or Eainier) fiuTiishes many similar 
testimonies on the same subject. We wiU only mention 
one, which is very much to the point. He tells us that the 
Yaudois missionaries gained access to the higher classes 
by going about as pedlars. " They offer for sale to people 
of quality ornamental articles, such as rings and veils. 
After a purchase has been made, if the pedlar is asked, 
' Have you anything else to sell ? ' he answers, ' I have 
jewels more precious than these things ; I would make you 
a present of them, if you would promise not to betray me 
to the clergy.' Ha\dng been assured on this point, he 

* We see, that the missionaries had been obliged to abandon the clerical 
costume here, and had adopted another, perhaps, as they beUeved, in imita- 
tion of Christ. 

t Maxima Bibhoth., P. P., t. xxiv., col. 1572, 1586. 

t Usher, pp. 269, 270. 


says, ' I have a pearl so brilliant that a man, by means of 
it, may learn to know God; I have another so splendid, 
that it kindles the love of God in the heart of him who 
possesses it,' and so forth. He speaks of pearls meta- 
phorically; then he repeats some portion of Scriptiu'e 
with which he is familiar, — such as that of Saint Luke, 
^ The angel Gabriel was sent,' or the words of Jesus Christ 
in John xiii., ' Before the feast,' etc. 

" When he has succeeded in gaining the attention of his 
hearer, he passes on to that passage in Matt, xxiii. and 
Mark xii,, ' Woe unto you that devoiu' widows' houses,' 
etc. If asked to whom these denunciations are to be 
applied, he says, ' To the clergy and the religious orders.' 
Then the heretic compares the state of the E-omish church 
with his own. ' Your doctors,' he says, ' are ostentatious in 
their dress and their manners ; they love the highest seats 
at table (Matt, xxiii.) and desire to be called masters 
(Rabbi) ; but we do not seek such masters.' And again : 
* they are unchaste ; but each one of us has his wife, with 
whom he li\'es chastely.' And again : ' they are the rich 
and avaricious, to whom it is said, ''Woe unto you, rich 
men : who have here your reward." Eut as for us, wc' 
are content if we have food and raiment.' And again : 
' they are like the voluptuous, to whom it is said, " Woe 
unto 3''ou that devour widows' houses," etc. We, on the 
contrary have, in one way or another, enough for our 
wants. They fight, stir up wars, kill and bum the poor. 
It is of them it is said, he that ''taketh the sword shall 
perish by the sword." We, on the contrary, endiu^e perse- 
cution from them, for righteousness' sake. They wish to 
be the only teachers : and thus it is to them it is said, 
''Woe be wito you who hold the key of knowledge." Among 
us, the women teach as well as the men, and a disciple of 
seven days' old instructs another. Among them it is a rare 
thing to find a doctor who knows literally three consecu- 
tive chapters of the JN^ew Testament ; but among us there 
is scarcely a woman who does not loiow as well as any man 
how to repeat the whole of the text in the vulgar tongue. 
And because we possess the true Christian faith, and all 
teach a pure doctrine, and recommend a holy life, the 
scribes and pharisees persecute us to death, even as they 
treated Christ himself. 


" 'Besides this, " They say and do not; they lay heavj- 
burdens on men's shoulders, and will not themselves move 
them -wdth one of their fingers ;" but as for us, we do what 
we teach. The}' strive to keep human traditions rather 
than the cormnandments of God ; they observe fasts, feast- 
days, times and seasons of presenting themselves at chiux-h, 
and many other rules of mere human prescrijDtion ; we 
persuade men only to observe the doctrine of Christ and 
his apostles. In like manner, they load penitents Avith 
heavy punishments, wliich they do not touch -with their 
fingers ; we, on the contrary, after the example of Christ, 
say to the sinner: "Go and sin no more;" and we remit 
all their sins by imposition of hands ; and at death we 
send their souls to heaven ; * whilst as for them, they send 
all souls to hell ! ' 

" After this or some such address, the heretic says to 
his hearer : ' Examine and consider which is the most per- 
fect religion and the purest faith, whether ours or that of 
the Eomish church, and choose it, whichever it may be.' 
.... And thus, being turned from the Catholic faith by 
such errors, he forsakes us. A person who gives credit to 
such discourse, who imbibes errors of this kind and be- 
comes their partisan and defender, concealing the heretic 
in his house for many months, is initiated into all that 
relates to their sect,"f 

The foregoing details can leave no doubt respecting the 
existence of Yaudois missionaries and the sj^irit of prose- 
lytism which animated the whole church. We shall have 
more than one occasion to refer to this characteristic in the 
course of this history. 

Eckbert, or Egbert, j' an author of the middle of the 
twelfth centiuy, whose writings are valuable to any one 
who can discriminate between facts and suppositions, or 
the false applications by which they are disfigured, con- 
firms what the Yaudois have told us respecting their mis- 
sionaries. In Ms first sermon against the Cathari, who 

* We have seen that the doctrine of the Vaudois was conformal)le to the 
gospel ; it is represented con-ectly in the accounts aheady given, but here it is 
distorted. The Vaudois never remitted sins even to a penitent sinner, still 
less to him who was not so ; but declared that Christ remits them to the true 
behever, and so likewise as to admission into heaven. 

t Reinerus, Maxima BibUoth., P. P., t. xxv., col. 275, and following. 

X He was abbot of St. Florin, near Treves. The Cathari, or Vaudois, of 
whom he speaks, were discovered m the country bordering on the Rhine. 


are no other than the Yaudois, speaking of those among 
them whom he calls the elect, and others call perfect, and 
who, we helieve, were the barbes, he expresses himscK in 
these terms : '' They send out from among all these elect 
those who appear fitted to uphold their error, either where 
it exists already, or to extend and disseminate it where it 
is as yet unknown."^' 

M. Planta, in his History of the Helvetic Confederacy, 
quotes a passage from the Chronicle of the Abbey of 
Corbie, taken from a manuscript which he believes was 
written about the beginning of the twelfth century. This 
quotation, while interesting as an example of missionary 
zeal, is also an additional proof of the antiquity of the 
Vaudois church of the Alps, as Hallam remarks in his 
Yiew of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages. 
" Some laics of Suabia, Switzerland, and Bavaria, persons 
seduced by the ancient race of simple men who inhabit the 
Alps and their vicinity, and Avho love ancient things, 
wished to abase {Jkumiliare) our religion and the faith of 
all the Christians of the Latin Church. Merchants belong- 
ing to the people of these Alps who commit the Bible to 
memory, and who have an aversion to the rites of the 
church which they call new, often find their way from 
Switzerland (ex Suicia) into Suabia, Bavaria, and northern 
Italy. They refuse to honour {venerari) images, they have 
an aversion to relics, they live on vegetables, rarely eat 
meat, and some of them never. We therefore call them 
Manicheans; some of these persons having come to them 
from Hungary, etc.f 

We cannot conclude this subject without recalling to 
mind a fact which we have already noticed in chapter iii., 
as well as in chapters v. and vi. of this history ; namely, 
the appearance in different places, during more than three 
hundred years, of priests or foreign preachers, unknown, 
but pointed out to the attention and inspection of the pre- 
lates, as not belonging to any church, nor being subject to 
any spiritual chief; on which account they are often called 
Acephali [headless]. In our opinion, these men, or at 
least many among them, might be the emissaries or rather 

* Maxima Biblioth., P. P., t. xxiii. col. 602. 

t History of the Helvetic Confederacy, by Planta, vol. i., pp. 179, 180 Qx 93, 
4to. edit.], quoted by HaUam, [iii., 467.] 


the missionaries, of the faithful churches — of the Yaiidois 
chiu'ch, for example — still surviving in various places the 
general apostasy, the Eomish heresy. These priests, with- 
out a name, and Tvithout an ordination, approved of by the 
apostate chiu'ch, were, perhaps, the spiritual guides sent to 
rouse the zeal and reanimate the drooping faith of scattered 
flocks, as well as to win new souls to Christ. Such were 
the priests twice denoimced by Celestin to the prelates of 
Gaul; those denounced to Zachary by Boniface of Germany ; 
the acephalous clerks anathematized in the coimcils of 
Mayence or Arras in the year 813, of Pavia in 850 and 
855, and of Melphi, a city of La Pouille, in 1090 ; in short, 
an Amulph, a Pierre de Bruis, a Henry, and many others.^'' 




At the beginning of the thirteenth centur}', the number of 
Yaudois Chi-istians was considerable in all parts; but, as 
we have shown at the end of chapter vi., they were known 
imder different names, derived from theii^ particular leaders, 
or owing as much to ill will as to certain circiunstances. 

In France, the work begim by Pierre do Bruis and by 
Heniy, received a new impulse from PieiTo Valdo or Pienx' 
the Yaudois. The preaching as well as the exemplary self- 
denial and charity of this faithful and pious servant of 
Jesus Christ, combined with the labours of his disciples, 
who were branded with the honourable name of the Poor 
Men of Lyons, had rendered essential service to the cause 
of Chiistian truth. General attention was directed to 
these manifestations. The effect they produced was so 
powerful, that the remembrance of former ones was in a 
measure effaced ; and most persons living at the time make 
mention only of PieiTC Yaldo and his disciples. The state 
of religious affairs when he appeared was not recollected : 
the relation in which he probably stood to the Yaudois who 

* For the Councils see the Magdeburgh Centizriators, Cent, ix., cols. 369, 
370, 419, 420.— Delectus Actorum Ecclesise Univ., 1. 1., pp. 750, 922, 1555. 

F 3 


had preceded him was not suspected ; and by an egregious 
mistake, some through ignorance, and others by an inex- 
plicable confusion, made him the chief of the Yaudois sect, 
to which he was only affiliated, though inferior to none of 
its members in activity. At the beginning of the thirteenth 
century, the zeal of the Poor Men of Lyons, joined to the 
efforts of the Petrobrusians, the Heniicians, and other 
sectaries, had remarkably increased the numbers of the 
Yaudois in almost all the pro^dnces of Prance. 

Germany, as well as Italy, abounded with many enemies 
to Pome. They belonged to all classes of society. Among 
them were to be found nobles, plebeians, clergy, monks, 
persons belonging to the religious orders, townspeople and 
peasants. Triteme, who states this fact, informs us that, 
at the date of the year 1229, the Cathari — a subdivision of 
the Yaudois, as we have seen in chapter vi. — were spread, 
though secretly, through Germany and Italy, in Lombardy 
especially, in such numbers that, as was said by some 
belonging to them, they could travel fi^om Cologne to 
Milan, and be hospitably received every night on their road 
by members of their fraternity."^* 

One of them, mentioned by the name of IlciUre Nouveau 
{New Master), and who suffered martyi'dom at Yienna, in 
Austria, in the year 1299, averred that in that same coun- 
try, in Bohemia and the adjacent districts, they amounted 
to more than 80,000. Our readers will recollect that Pierre 
Yaldo, when obliged to flee from Lyons, after having spent 
some time in Picardy, in Yindelicia, took refuge in Bohemia, 
where he ended his days. 

The inquisitor Painier Sacco informs us, also, that Italy 
in his time, about the year 1254, was filled with Cathari. 
Besides the Bagnolensian heretics,! (so named from Bag- 
nolo, a city situated in the vicinity of the present Yaudois 
valleys,) Painier speaks of the Cathari of Mantua, Brescia, 
Bergamo, and the duchy of Milan. He mentions also those 
of Yicenza, Plorence, and the valley of Spoletto. After 
enumerating sixteen churches belonging to the Yaudois 
Cathari, established through all Europe as far as Constan- 
tinople, he adds, that if their number (the number of the 
perfect, without doubt, that is, of the principal among 

* Triteme, pp. 224-232. 

t This fact is confirmed by Gioflfredo. Storia delle Alpi Maritime ; — in Monu- 
menta Historiaj Patiiee, t. iii., p. 488. 


them,) did not exceed four thousand, the believers (that 
is, no doubt, all who were affiliated to them,) were innu- 
merable. Besides, many of these churches, which he places 
in France, as the Albigensian, he names those of Bulgaiia, 
Sclavonia, etc."^'' 

A movement so general and so opposed to the Romish 
worship could not fail to excite great indignation in the 
bosom of the pope, the prelates, and the clergy. Yery soon 
a cry of wrath and vengeance resounded from the south to 
the north, and the persecution, which had hitherto been 
only partial and local, extended to all points. Superstition 
trembled for its altars, its images, and its false miracles. 
Ignorance was offended with evangelical light. Wounded 
pride and avarice anticipated the ruin of the credit and 
revenues of the clergy. A war of extermination could alone 
save the Romish establishment from the terrible blow with 
which it was threatened by the efforts of the Yaudois 
Christians for the propagation of pure doctrine, by the 
example of their self-denying lives, their charity, their 
purity, and their good works. The prelates and the pope 
therefore invoked the assistance of the temporal power, and 
by its aid laboured to destroy their enemies ; nor did they 
stop till they saw themselves masters, and supposed they 
had suppressed or annihilated them. 

All the particulars of this work of iniquity have not 
come down to us. The cries of many of its victims never 
reached beyond their prison-walls, or the crowd that assem- 
bled round their funeral pile. The correspondence of Rome 
and the archives of the inquisition contain many a secret 
and abimdant details which have not transpired. On many 
points, we are acquainted with only some isolated facts. 

To begin with one of these facts, not very ciiTumstan- 
tially given, but relating to the eountiies most fi-equently 
mentioned in this work, the Yaudois valleys of Piedmont, 
we shall cite the first decree of persecution of which we 
know, obtained sj)ecifically against the Yaudois by the 
Roman clergy, and emanating from the imperial power. 
It is dated a.d. 1198. Otho iv., when he visited Rome in 
order to be crowned by the pope, glinted it at the request 
of James, bishop of Turin. The following are the prin- 
cipal passages, translated from the Latin : 

* Maxima Biblioth., P. P., t. xxv,, col. 269, and following. 


" Otho, by the grace of God august emperor, to his 
well-beloved and faithful bishop of Turin, grace and good- 
will, etc. It is our wish that all those who do not proceed 
in the right path, and who strive to extinguish in our 
dominions the light of the Catholic faith by their perverse 
heresj^, should be punished mth imperial severity, and that 
in all parts of the empii^e they should be separated from 
intercourse with the faithful. By the authority of these 
presents we enjoin you, in reference to the Yaudois heretics 
( Valdenses), and all those who sow the tares of falsehood 
in the diocese of Turin, and who attack the Catholic faith, 
teaching any perverse error whatever, that you expel them 
from the whole diocese of Turin, supported by the im- 
perial authority. To tliis end we confer upon you, 
etc., etc."-'* 

"What use the bishop of Turin made of the powers thus 
granted to him is not known, but we cannot doubt that he 
persecuted those against whom he obtained this commis- 
sion, and that the heretics of Bagnolo and their neigh- 
bours in the Yaudois valleys, as well as those who were 
settled in the open country, were subjected to its severities. 

The ordinance of Count Thomas of Savoy, and the magis- 
trate of Pinerolo, of the year 1220, already cited in a pre- 
ceding chapter,! might be introduced here under the head 
of persecutions, since it prohibited every inhabitant of that 
city and its environs from showing hospitality to the 
Yaudois, either men or women. This severe measui'e 
shows the state of proscription in which the Yaudois of 
this part of Piedmont were placed, whenever they ventured 
beyond their valleys. 

Some isolated* facts which have escaped oblivion, make it 
apparent that religious persecution was carried on with 
vigour in other parts of Italy. Thus we read of a female, 
called Tedesca, or la Tedesca (the German) "whose punish- 
ment by fire occasioned great tumults at Parma in 1277, 
during which the convent of the dominican inquisitors was 
piUaged. In the district of Domo-d'Ossola, in 1307, the 

* Taken from Spondanus in the year 1198, and the archives of Turin. See 
Monum. Hist. Patriae, t. iii., p. 488. 

t It may be inferred, we tliink, from this quotation, that Thomas, who had 
taken a part in the crusade against the Albigenses, and who left the Vaudois 
of the Piedmontese vaUeys undisturbed, as it appears, was not yet their 
sovereign. It would be much later that the marquis of Lucerna submitted to 
the house of Savoy. 


lieresiarch Dolcigno was pursued sword in hand, mth liis 
numerous partisans and followers, and was accused of re- 
viving the sect of the Cathari and the Paterins. Having 
assembled to the number of three hundred, they were 
attacked and defeated, and their leader burned/''' 

But the greatest severity of the church of Rome was 
exercised on the fiiends of the gospel to the west of the 
Alps, the disciples of Pierre de Bruis, Henry, and Pierre 
Yaldo. Its concentrated rage was especially let loose for 
a niunber of years over the beautiful champaigne country 
watered by the Tarn and other tributary streams of the 
Garonne in the vales of the Durance, and the plains washed 
by the lower Phone and the waves of the Mediterranean. 
It assailed without pity those conscientious and enlight- 
ened men, who only aimed at offering to God a pui'er 
worshij) than had been taught them by the Pomish priests. 
These cruel persecutions are known by the name of the 
crusades against the Albigenses ; a name taken from the 
city and territory of Albi, one of the principal centres of 
the Yaudois sect in the south of Prance. 

It forms no part of our plan to give the liistory of this 
gi'eat act of iniquity : such a subject requires a separate 
treatise ; and we refer our readers, for the details, to the 
historians who have written expressly upon it. We confine 
ourselves to noticing the means employed by the coiu^t of 
Home and their results. 

It was by carnal weapons that the pretended vicar of 
Jesus Christ and his clergy undertook to bring back the 
heretics within the pale of the Pomish church ; while the 
apostle who won the greatest number of souls to the 
Christian faith, the apostle Paul, exclaimed, " We do not 
war after the flesh ; for the weapons of our warfare are not 
carnal," 2 Cor. x. 3, 4 ; and Jesus Christ said to St. Peter, 
who wished to employ the sword, not to assail opponents, 
but to defend the beloved person of his Divine Master, 
" Put up again thy sword into his place," Matt. xxvi. 52. 
Pope Innocent ni. began the work by combining persua- 
sions with menaces ; appeals to Roman Catholic fidelity, 
with insinuating measures of the most able and refined 
policy towards the reigning princes. The selection of agents 
who were perfectly adapted for such a mission, seemed to 

* Bassi, Storia d'ltalia, t. xv., p. 391—520. 


assure him of success. They were, in the first instance, 
Eainier and Guy, monks of Citeaux, who were sent in 1198, 
with the title of legates, into the infected countries. In 
1204, Innocent joined to them Pierre de Castelnau, arch- 
deacon of Maguelone, with full powers. But whatever 
pains they took, however pressing their exhortations, or 
severe their menaces, their mission was attended with little 
success, till the Spaniard, Dominic Gusman, who thence- 
forward became so celebrated, began to give a new direction 
to theii" proceedings. 

" Considering," says father Tournon, in his Life of Do- 
minie, '' that the -sdolent methods which had hitherto been 
adopted against the apostates, had only served to iiTitate 
them ; that the luxury and self-indulgence of the Catholics 
scandalized both the friends and enemies of the church ; 
that the Albigenses on the contrary, by a pious exterior, 
conciliated the confidence of the people and the esteem of 
the great ; that the cupidity and dissolute conduct of those 
(the priests) whose profession engaged them to the greatest 
sanctity, formed a deadly taint which caused their religion 
to be blasphemed, while the heretics, believing they might 
discredit the doctrine of those whose manners could not be 
respected, made use of this state of things to cherish in 
ignorant persons that spirit of revolt with which they had 
inspired them against their legitimate pastors; Dominic 
concluded that he must make use of persuasion and example 
rather than terror, and tread in the steps of the apostles, 
by preaching and living like them, always travelling on foot 
like St. Peter and St. Paul, without equipage, money, or 
provisions. He had no doubt that such a line of conduct 
would prejudice people in their favour, and would gradually 
reform the manners of the clergy, and confound the hypo- 
crisy of the heretics."* 

This advice was followed ; bishops and legates them- 
selves became missionaries, and not without some success. 
They did not even shrink fi'om public disputes. But the 
method of persuasion being too slow to satisfy the extrava- 
gant hopes that were entertained, and deviating too much 
from the exclusive and tyrannical proceedings of Borne, the 
legates had recourse to excommunications and the employ- 
ment of force. 

• Tournon, Yie de St. Dominique, liv. v. p. 36, 

DOMINIC. 1 1 1 

Everything being prepared, Innocent launched his thun- 
ders against Eavniond, count of Toulouse, whom he ex- 
communicated, and abused him in an outrageous manifesto. 
He, at the same time, urged the king of France, the dukes, 
piinces, and lords of that country and the neighbom^hood, 
to a crusade against the heretics ; exciting them by the 
promise of plunder, besides magnificent and eternal rewards 
in heaven for the blood of the martp^s which they should 
shed. In obedience to his orders, in the year 1209, a hun- 
di^d thousand crusaders* at least, under the conduct of 
the count de Montfort, commander-in-chief of the army, 
and Amahie, abbot of Citeaux, the pope's legate, invaded 
the heretical territory of Languedoc. 

Dominic, iiTitated by the little success of his eloquence, 
now loudly demanded the infliction of temporal chastise- 
ments on those whom he was unable to convert. With a 
crucifix in his hand, he showed himself in the midst of the 
soldiers, dressed in a long white robe and black mantle, as 
the inexorable messenger of war, or rather as the befitting 
agent of Antichrist. To hear him, it was by fii^e and 
sword that heaven was to be avenged. When, in the first 
campaign, Beziers was taken and sacked, in the heat of the 
massacre, even the canons, who were walking in procession 
to meet the crusaders, were involved in the same fate as the 
heretics. " Kill them all," said Amalric, the faithful legate 
of a pitiless pope; ''kill them all; the Lord knoweth 
them that are his I" From the banks of the Rhone to 
those of the Lot, fimeral piles were continually biuning. 
The confiscation of their property, tortures, horrible tor- 
ments and flames, were reserved for all those jDrofessing the 
so-called heretical doctrine, whom the sword and lance had 
not slain on the field of battle. 

While bands of ferocious and greedy warriors attacked 
the strong places, the chateaux and cottages of the Albi- 
gensian sectaries, Foulques, bishop of Toulouse, and his 
associates of Languedoc, Dominic and his disciples, skilful 
and ^villing instruments of Antichrist, spied out by means 
of their emissaries, and denounced, examined, and con- 
demned unfortunate persons, without number, whoni they 
tore from their families. 

* Some writers give a much higher estimate of the numbers of this anny. 


Years of experience having shown what signal services an 
association of intriguing monks, accusers, and persecutors, 
could render to the cause of religious oppression, Innocent 
III., in the year 1215, at the council of Lateran, approved 
of the plan which Dominic laid before him of founding an 
order of mendicant monks and preaching friars, for the 
conversion and suppression of the enemies of the church ; 
and in the following year, Honorius in., the successor ol 
the sanguinary Innocent, confirmed the institution, and 
constituted the order. These preaching friars were, at a 
later period, called Dominicans, from the name of their 
founder, and received special privileges for the extirpation 
of heretics. '^' 

To spy out and discover the unbelievers, to convince 
them of their errors, to j)ersuade them to return into the 
pale of the church, and, if they refased, to draw up the 
indictments, to arrest the accused, to conduct the criminal 
proceedings, to pass sentence, and cause it to be executed 
by means of the secular power ; such were the functions 
which were delegated to this order, from which the ever- 
execrable tribunal of the inquisition shortly arose. 

Prom the year 1215, the Dominicans, in conjituctionwith 
the bishops, began to celebrate with pomp those acts of 
faith, {auto-da-fe,) as they were called by a deplorable 
abuse of language, in which they exhibited the persons 
condemned before a crowd of spectators, and then burned 
them with apparent devotion, according to the customary 
ceremonial in the most solemn rites of Roman Catholicism. 
Ye holy martyrs of the Christian faith ! dying of want in 
prisons,! ^^ ^^ ^^ rack, or crowded on the funeral-piles, 
you were judged, like your Divine Master, worthy of 
suffering, victims of the hatred vowed by h}^ocrisy and 
superstition against the truth. Like Jesus, your Saviour, 
accused of blasphemy, and condemned by the leaders of his 
people, at the very time when he proclaimed before them 
the accomplishment in his own person of the prophecies 
and promises, you, his faithful disciples, were declared 

* About the same time St. Francois d'Assise founded a second order of 
mendicant monks, known by the name of Minor Friars and Franciscans. 
They showed themselves to be worthy rivals of the Dominicans. 

t One of the most barbarous pimishments consisted in immuring (emmitrer) 
—that is, inclosing the suiTerer within four waUs, and feeding him scantily 
through a wicket, or even lea\ him to perish with hmiger. 


worthy of death, and devoted to the eternal fire reserved 
for the impenitent, when you were endeavouring to do 
honour to the light of the gospel, and were confessing the 
name of Jesus, the King of glory, in opposition to the Ibl- 
lowers of Antichiist ! Holy martyrs, treading in the steps 
of Stephen, we trust that, in the midst of your sharpest 
sufferings, when the flame glowed around your scorched 
and palpitating limhs, you were able to behold, like the 
faithful deacon of Jerusalem, the heavens open and the Son 
of Man standing at the right hand of God! Your last 
looks Avere those of gratitude, and your last Avords, while 
here below, those of triumphant faith. Honoured be yoiu' 
ashes scattered to the winds ! venerated be the remembrance 
of your fidelity ! and, above all, God grant that your per- 
severance, in confessing his name by a worship in spirit 
and in truth, and your fidelity, even to martp^dom, may 
not be a lost example to us ! 

To attain the end for which their order was instituted, 
and to show themselves worthy of the confidence reposed 
in them, the Dominicans, equally malignant and fanatical, 
went through the towns and districts of Languedoc, estab- 
lishing provisionary tiibunals of the inquisition in different 
places. They had the barbarity to decide that the chikben 
of heretics, if above seven years old, might be sentenced to 
be bm-ned to death, as having, at that time of life, reached 
the age of reason. Cardinal Conrad, the new legate of the 
pope in 1222, ardently upheld this sanguinary tribunal. 
The fiuy of the inquisitors being increased by his support, 
exasperated the people of Languedoc to such a pitch, that 
they ran to arms on all sides. Conrad, wielding the 
thunderbolts of Rome, laimched forth excommunications, 
called the faithful to his banner, invoked the aid of war 
and destiiiction, and preached a new crusade against the 
Albigensian Yaudois. 

Raymond vi. was dead, and so was his enemy, Simon de 
Montfbrt ; their sons, Raymond a'II. and Amanri, crossed 
their swords against one another on the field of battle, 
as their fathers had done. Louis viii., king of France, 
placed himself at the head of the friends of the pope, who 
committed unheard-of cruelties in every quarter. Louis ix., 
whom Rome has canonized under the title of St. Louis, 
followed in the same track. Having obtained the submis- 


sion of the count of Toulouse and his principal allies, the 
ancient supporters of the Albigensian Yaudois, he issued a 
strong ordinance against all heretics. They were put out 
of the i^ale of the common law, deprived of their civil and 
political rights, and prosecuted. Large sums were oifered 
to persons for laying informations against them, or arresting 
them. The council of Toulouse, of the year 1229, took 
similar measures in reference to the ecclesiastical admi- 
nistration and the rights of the church. It specially inter- 
dicted la^mien fi'om keeping in their possession the books 
of the Old and IS^ew Testament, with the exception of the 
Psalms. The}" were forbidden, above all, to translate any 
part of them into the Komance language. 

Heres^^, notwithstanding, was not destroyed; it even 
made progress in some parts of the desolated countries. 
Gregory;' ix., the Roman pontiff, attributed the ill success 
of the measures against it to the negligence of the bishops, 
who were more occupied about their temporal affairs than 
the welfare of their flocks. He resolved, therefore, to take 
from them the cognizance of the fact of heresy, and to vest 
it solely in the preaching friars ; this immense power he 
granted by a decree dated April 12, 1233, to the disciples 
of Dominic, in the diocese of Toulouse principally, and 
in the archbishoprics of Boui'ges,-'- Bordeaux, Aix, Arks, 
Auch, Narbonne, Vienne, and Embrun. He placed the 
inquisitors under the special protection of the counts of 
Toulouse, Foix, and other lords, as well as the seneschals 
of France ; requiring the latter to render their assistance 
whenever it was called for. As a sequel to this ordinance, 
tribunals of the inquisition were established and made per- 
manent at Toulouse, Carcassone, Avignon, Montpellier, 
Albi, and Cahors. Their authority was everywhere re- 
cognised, and even at the last creation of the parliament at 
Toulouse, in 1444, their sentences were executed without 

Is it necessary to add, that the Dominicans showed them- 
selves worthy of the pontifical confidence ? They displayed 
unequalled zeal, indescribable severity, limiting themselves 
to no rule, or rather breaking all rules. They dived into 
the secrets of families, set relations and friends against one 
another, exasperated and overwhelmed all generous minds 

* Places, no doubt, where the progress of heresy was most strongly marked. 


with anguish. Thus they at last obtained their end. Tlie 
prisons were crowded with victims, and often required to be 
enlarged ; funeral piles were reared in all parts. Every 
one who did not renounce his convictions, or who did not 
succeed in concealing liimself, or dissembling his belief, 
perished in the flames, or pined away in a dungeon. It is 
estimated, that, in the first fifty years of this centuiy, a 
million of Albigenses lost their lives, victims of the hatred, 
barbarity, and superstition of the E,omish church. 

These statements are mostly taken from the History of 
the Inquisition in France, by M. cle la Mothe-Langon, 
Paris, 1829. 

Alas ! in exterminating or imprisoning the majority of 
the Yaudois Chiistians, and in giving them no rest in the 
very spots where their labours had been most successful, 
their j^ersecutors succeeded in stopping the progress of that 
glorious awakening which the return to the Holy Scrip- 
tures, and to the sound and ancient doctrine of the gospel, 
had produced. They flattered themselves, no doubt, that 
they had stifled it altogether. 

In such results, the court of Eome rejoiced ; she hastened 
to prosecute her infernal work, and to employ the same 
means in all places where heresy was informed against, 
wherever the secular power submitted to be the intrument 
of her vengeance, and the exterminator of its own subjects. 

The Yaudois of Germany had also their turn, and could 
not escape persecution. Eighty persons were apprehended 
in Strasburgh alone, of whom the greater part were de- 
livered to the flames. The famous inquisitor, Conrad de 
Marpurg, adopted a sui'e method of convicting the accused, 
by subjecting them to the ordeal of heated iron. In the 
year 1233, a great number of heretics were biu-ned in differ- 
ent parts of Germany by the exertions of this preaching 
monk and inquisitor, who at last paid for the sufierings he 
had inflicted by a violent death. In the course of this 
centuiy, the same punishments were often renewed. Mat- 
thew Paris reports, that, in the year 1249, four hundred 
and forty-three heretics were condemned to the flames in 
Saxony and Pomerania. 

Among the victims belonging to Germany, to the 
astonishment of the spectators, an inquisitor, the monk 
Echard, an ancient persecutor of the Yaudois, took his 


place at the stake. During the veiy time that he was 
putting interrogatories to persons accused of heresy, the 
Spirit of God touched his heart; their constancy in the 
midst of their sufferings made him ;^deld to the gospel : an 
illustrious triumph of the faith ! — We are without infor- 
mation as to what took place in Italy. 



The Vaudois, jDcrsecuted in the south of Prance with 
unparalleled and incessant violence, sighed after some re- 
pose. Many of them had found a temporary refuge in 
the domains of the king of Aragon ; others had migrated 
into different provinces of Prance, as Picardy, Burgund}^, 
Lorraine, Alsace ; into different parts of Germany ; into 
Bohemia especially, and even into Poland ; others had taken 
refuge in Lombardy and the Italian cities which were more 
2:>articularly under the influence of the Ghibelines, and 
where, consequently, the papal power had less influence, and 
where intestine dissensions, as well as external contests, 
left the clergy no leisure for indulging in persecution.^' 

A great number took refuge in that part of the Alps 
which forms the frontier of Prance and Italy, the same 
Yaudois valleys where the pure doctrine of the gospel had 
been preserved from before the time of Constantino, and 
had been propagated far and wide by its missionaries during 
the preceding centuries. They filled with their weeping 
families the valleys of Lucerna, Angrogna, and San Martino, 
that of Pragela or the Clusone, the high valley of the Po, 
those of Susa, Praissiniere, and I'Argentiere, the. vale of 
Loyse (or Louise) or Pute, where theii^ brethren in the 
faith had been abeady established for centuries, and where 
we shall very soon meet with them again. 

* Perrin, Histoire des Vaudois, pp. 233 — 246. Histoke de I'lnquisition en 
France, par de la Mothe-Langon, t. ii., p. 587. 


The multitude of the refugees in that quarter became so 
large, that the land could not support them. It was 
necessary to plan new migrations to find an outlet for this 
superabundance of population. Diiferent causes, which oui- 
distance from this period and the want of documents pre- 
vent our appreciating, dii'ected numbers of the Yaudois 
towards the southern extremity of Italy, to Apulia and 
Calabria, in the kingdom of Xaples."^'' 

This settlement of the Yaudois in Apulia is mentioned in 
a report as recent as 1489, by the legate dc Capitaneis, to 
the archbishop of Embrun, in which he notices similar 
establishments in Liguria and Italy, adding this fact, that 
when the Yaudois (whom he incoiTcctly represents as 
coming from Lyons) decided on forming them, there were 
more than fifty thousand of them in the Alps, on the con- 
fines of Dauphine, and in the dioceses of Embrun and 
Turin, f 

An ordinance of the emperor Erederick ii., dated at 
Padua, in the year 1244, supports our account. '' We 
ought to pursue them," it says of the Yaudois, "with so 
much the more vigour, the more audaciously they set them- 
selves to oppose Christianity and the Roman church by 
their superstitions on the confines of Italy and Lombardy, 
where we know, fi'om certain information, that their malice 
lias committed the greatest ravages : they have already 
spread themselves even into our Idngdom of Sicily. "| 

The province of Calabria, in. the kingdom of ^N'aples, 
where the Yaudois founded one of their principal colonies, 
is a beautiful country, ])rotected by mountains, and formed 
of smiling valleys and fertile plains. Orange-trees and 
olives display their fruit not far from chesnuts and larches. 
The persons who were sent to explore the district came 
back equally satisfied Avith its fertility and the conditions 
of settlement oifered by the lords of the soil. An advan- 
tageous treaty for the colonists was soon concluded, and a 
considerable number of Yaudois prepared for their depar- 
ture. The young people married before they emigrated. 

On theii' arrival, they founded in the neighbourhood of 
Montalto a town called Borgo d'Oltramontani, or Oltro- 

* Hist, de rinquisition en France, t. ii., p. 613. GiUes, Hist. Eccles., p. 18. 
t Taken from Leger, Hist. Generale, t. ii., p. 22, 
J Hist, de rinquisition en France, t. ii., p. 538. 


montani ; that is, the town of the TJltramontanes, because 
the new settlers originally dwelt beyond the Appenines. 
The stream of emigration continning to flow in the same 
direction, the Yandois built, at a little distance from the 
first town, another called San Sesto, afterwards the site of 
one of their most celebrated churches. They also founded 
Argentine, La Ilocca, Yacarisso, and San Yincente. At 
length, the marquis Spinello permitted them to build 
Guardia, a walled city, which has retained the name of 
(xuardia-Lombarda, situated on an eminence near the sea ; 
and he granted important privileges to the inhabitants, so 
that, in time, it became opulent and considerable. The 
Yaudois, or Ultramontanes as the natives called them, 
increased greatly, and prospered for a length of years in 
their happy colony. 

More than a century later, about the year 1400, in con- 
sequence of the severities practised by the inquisition in 
Provence and Dauphine, under the eyes of the popes at 
Avignon, the Yaudois who had fled from these provinces 
into the valleys, determined on a new emigration into 
the kingdom of Naples, where they founded in Apulia, 
the five small cities of Monilone, Montanato, Paito, 
La Cella and La Motta. Lastly, about the year 1500, 
the Yaudois of Fraissiniere and other valleys, to escape 
persecution, established themselves in the neighbourhood 
of their brethren, in the valley of Yolturata. Thus we 
may understand how, from these different centres, the Yau- 
dois could spread themselves all over the kingdom of 
!N^aples, and even to Sicily. We shall give an account, in 
the sequel, of their lamentable end."^' 

These colonies maintained direct and constant relation 
with the Yaudois of the valleys, who provided them with 
pastors, according to the decision of thcfr synods. Accord- 
ing to their established custom, the barbes, or pastors, 
undertook thefr distant journey by two and two — one of 
them advanced in years, already acquainted mth places and 
persons, and experienced in practical matters ; the other 
younger, in order to be trained to his vocation. Both in 
going and returning they visited the faithful who were 
scattered through the towns and country places of Italy, 
exhorting and consoling them; a proceeding not entirely 

* GUles, Histoii-e Eccles., p. 18, and follomng. 


unknown to their adversaries.* The barbes of the valleys 
possessed a house in each of the cities of Florence, Genoa, 
and Yenice,t and probably elsewhere ; but it was onlj^ at 
intervals, when the pastors were passing through on their 
missionary travels, that the faithful of these cities and 
other places fully enjoyed an evangelical ministry; while, 
according to all appearance, the colonies of Apulia and 
Calabria retained for a continuance, till they were replaced, 
the pastors who had been sent to them by a preceding 

At a period not exactly known, towards the end of the 
thirteenth century, perhaps at the commencement or in the 
course of the fourteenth century, the Yaudois of the valleys, 
to remedy the inconvenience resulting from their being- 
crowded within too small a compass, turned their thoughts 
again towards Provence, which many of their forefathers 
had been forced to quit during the crusades against the 
Albigenses. Fertile though uncultivated lands in the in- 
habited valleys that border on the river Durance to the east 
of Cavaillon, having been granted to their deputies by the 
proprietors on advantageous conditions, they sent thither 
the surplus of theii^ population. Their industry, integrity, 
and exemplary conduct were recompensed by unexampled 
prosperity.;]: Cabrieres, ^Merindol, Lormarin, Cadenet, 
Gordes, towns of considerable size, were successively 
founded and enlarged by them. Such was their prosperity, 
that when Francis i, caused them to be persecuted and 
massacred by the infamous d'Oppede, in the year 1545, 
not less than twenty-two towns, villages, and hamlets were 

It will appear from this recital, that the Yaudois church, 

* GiUes relates that a barbe of his name having gone into a church at 
Florence, heard a monk who was preaching exclaim : " O Florence ! What 
does Florence mean ? The flower of Italy. And so thou wast tUl these Ultra- 
montanes persuaded thee that man is justified by faith, and not hj works ; 
and herein they he." — Gilles, p. 20. 

t In the hst which Perrin gives of the barbes about the year 1602, we find 
among those whose memory was preserved for more than three hundred years, 
one named Jehan, from the vaUey of Lucema, who was suspended for some 
fault from his office for seven years, during which time he stayed at Genoa, 
where the baibes had a house, as they also had a handsome one at Florence. 
— Pen-in, p. 66. 

X The exact date of the fotmding of these colonies is uncertain. According 
to Camerarius, who reckons that they had in his time existed two hundred 
years, they must have been formed in 1345. De Thou assigns them a dura- 
tion of thi-ee himdred years, which would place their origin as far back as 
about 1245, (Camerarius de Excidio, etc. ; and De Thou, i. 293.) 


in spite of the dreadful persecutions it had endured, espe- 
cially in the south of Trance, was yet so strong and nume- 
rous, and spread over so many places, that it might have 
been hoped that the sound doctrine and purity of worship 
transmitted by its means from the times of Constantino the 
Great, would long maintain the struggle against the efforts 
of Babylon the Great ; but the hour was come when Rome 
proceeded to attack the Yaudois of the Alps in their retreats, 
and thus threatened a fatal blow to the militant, and already 
much enfeebled, church. 



The churches of Vaudois origin being in ruins in the south 
of France, and on the point of dissolution wherever the 
emissaries of Rome had free access, the moment seemed 
come for pursuing these defenders of the evangelical faith 
to extremities among the retired moiuitains, in the bosom 
of which a considerable jDart of them lay, as it were, 
entrenched. They occupied, halfway between Turin and 
Grenoble, the two declivities of the Alps which incline to 
the east and west of the snowy peaks of the mountains 
Genevre and Yiso. Their humble dwellings, erected on 
the sides of the mountains either in groups or scattered, 
reached to the bottom of the valleys. To the west, among 
the woods of the high Alps of Dauphine and Provence, the 
most elevated and retired valleys were inhabited wholly, or 
at least in great part, by the Yaudois. In the diocese of 
Embrun, in particular, there was not a valley without some 
of their churches. But the most noted were, the High 
Yalley of the Durance, and the adjacent glens of Argentiere, 
Eraissiniere, and Loyse, or Pute. 

To the east, all the glens and valleys which descend from 
the High Alps to the plain towards Pinerolo and Saluzzo, 
those which are watered by the Clusone and the Ger- 
manasca, the Pelice and the Grana, tributaries of the Po, 
and by the Po itself — ^namely, the vale of Pragela, the 


valley of San Martino, the vale of Angrogna, the valley 
of Lucema, that of the Po, and of Bagnolo, etc., were 
then, and had been for centnries, the earthly fatherland of 
the faithful Yaudois of Piedmont. 

Into these ancient and venerable retreats of the jDure 
faith, the pretended ^icar of Jesns Chi'ist, the Saviour of 
the world and the Prince of peace, planned to cany a cruel 
persecution. This scourge had already approached several 
times, and caused many tears in the distinct of Embmn, 
and, no_ doubt, in the"^ plains of Piedmont also, though 
histoiy is silent respecting it. But the hour was come For 
it to burst on the mountain region of the ancient diocese of 
Claude of Turin, — the very spot where the light of truth 
was still biuTiiu";. 

Pope John xxii., desirous of prosecuting the work 
begun by Innocent iii., and to do it systematically, ordered 
Jean de Badis, inquisitor at Marseilles, to join 'his efforts 
M-ith those of Albert de CasteUatio, who resided in Pied- 
mont in the same capacity. In his bull, dated in the year 
1332, this pope directed his legate's attention to the Yal- 
denses, or Yaudois, of the valleys of Lucerna and Perosa. 
He complained of the increase of these heretics, of their 
frequent meetings in the form of chapters, (probably by 
this term he meant their synods,) at which as many as five 
hundi-ed persons were often present. He accused "^them of 
having killed the rector Guillaume, after mass, in a place 
that he caUs Yilla,^*' and of having risen against the inqui- 
sitor De CasteUatio, when about to exercise his office. 
A detailed account of this first attempt at persecution 
against the valleys of Lucerna and Perosa has not come 
down to us. AU we know of this expedition, as having 
reaUy occurred, is, that De Badis succeeded in enti'apping 
Martin Pasti'e, one of the Yaudois leaders, whom he sent 
to Marseilles and imprisoned; but, by the pope's orders, 
he recalled him to Piedmont, to be judged by Albert de 
CasteUatio and subjected to tortiu^e, if' needful, "'ui order to 
denounce his associates.! 

In 1352, pope Clement vi. gave it in charge to lYiUiam, 

* Rorengo says that Guillaume was slain at AngrosTia, where he was rector, 
and that he was taken off for ha\-ing given information of the heresy to Castel- 
latio. We can assert that there is no locahty at Angrogna answering to the 
name of Villa, but there does exist a town called Villaro to the west of La Torre, 

t De la Mothe-Langon, t. iii., p. 217.— Leger, pt. ii., p. 20. 



archbishop of Embrun, and Pierre de Mont, Franciscan 
friar and inquisitor, to extinguish heresy. The lords, 
judges, and consuls (syndics) of the province were invited 
to lend him their aid. 

But, once more, the results did not answer the expecta- 
tions of the pontiff. (De la Mothe-Langon, t. iii., p. 256.) 
In page 254 of the same work, we meet with a strange 
letter ^T:'itten to the same pope, which might have occa- 
sioned the persecution which he undertook, after he had 
been ten years in the pontificate. Yet, as this possibility 
is not expressed, we shall content ourselves with having 
referred to the letter. 

The pope also urged the dauphin, Charles of France, 
Louis, king of JN'aples, and queen Joanna, his wife, to per- 
secute the heretics. This latter circumstance serves to 
confii'm the fact of there being Yaudois colonies in the 
kingdom of IS^aples ; for why should the pope address this 
prince, if there were no heretics in his dominions ? The 
invitation addressed to the queen of Naples, who possessed 
territory in the marquisate of Saluzzo, near the vallej^s, 
adds a fresh presumption to the evidence we have already 
given of the existence of the Yaudois in many parts of this 

These solicitations, also, of the court of Avignon had not, 
at this time, the results that were hoped for. 

Two years later, James, prince of Acqui, of the house of 
Savoy, ordered Balangero and Ueto Borengo to imprison 
those of the Yaudois sect who had been discovered in the 
valley of Lucerna and the neighbouring valley s.f 

Urgent appeals for the destruction of heresy were con- 
tinually addressed by the papal court at A^dgnon to the 
secular authorities. But, far from displaying the requisite 
zeal, both magistrates and people seemed to lean to the 
side of clemency. Gregor}'- xi., when writing, in 1373, to 
Charles v., the king of France, to complain of his officers 
for thwarting the inquisitors in Dauphine, says, ''They 
put obstacles in the way of the inquisitors, forcing them to 
hold their tribunal in places exposed to the attacks of the 
enemies of the faith ; not permitting them to institute pro- 

* Monumenta Historiae Patrise, t. iii., p. 860. 

t This fact shows that the marquises of Lucerna had at that time made their 
submission to the house of Savoy. Histoire de la Ville, etc., de Pignerol, t. iii., 
p. 35. 


ceedings against the heretics ^vithout the concurrence of the 
civil judges, and constraining them to reveal the secrets of* 
their proceedings. They release condemned sectaries from 
prison; they even refuse to take an oath to act against 
these obstinate people. Lose no time," he adds, '^ to 
rectify such proceedings, under pain of draT\-ing down 
upon you the indignation of the holy apostles Peter and 
Paul." '' 

But though the inquisitors, who were commissioned to 
extirpate the Yaudois faith, were often ill seconded, yet 
they made many victims, and caused much suffering. 

These incessant severities and excessive acts of violence 
impelled the Yaudois, in 1375, to make some deplorable 
reprisals. They attacked the city of Susa, forced the con- 
vent of the Dominicans, and put the inquisitor to death. 
They are like"\vise accused of having taken the life of 
another inquisitor of Turin, perhaps near Bricherasco, at 
the entrance of the valley of Lucema.f 

The great schism in the church of Pome, which took 
place in 1378, by the election of two popes. Urban vi. at 
Pome, and Clement vn. at Avignon, did not occasion any 
abatement in the persecution. The inquisitor, Borelli, 
having in vain cited all the inhabitants of Praissiniere, 
Argentiere, and the vale of Loyse, to his tribunal, caused 
a great number to be arrested. By his orders one hundred 
and fifty Yaudois men were brought to Grenoble and burned 
alive, besides many women, girls, and even young children, 
all of the vale of Loyse. In the valleys of Argentiere and 
Fraissiniere, eighty victims, men and women, were handed 
over to the secular power ; and such was the determination 
to punish them, that, in many cases, they were executed 
without any other sentence than a general declaration of 
being criminals famished by the holy office. " There is 
evidence," writes a catholic author, '' that many accused 
persons were thrown into prison only for the purpose of 
seizing on their propert3\ Blood or gold," he adds ; " this 
is what the inquisition required." % 

* De la Mothe-Langon, t. iii., pp. 270, 271. It may easily be imagined that 
the interests of the seculkr princes did not always coincide with those of the 

t Ibid., p. 278.— Monumenta Historise Patriae, t. iii., p. 861 .— Rorengo, ta 
I'Histoire de Pignerol, by Massi, t. ii., p. 35. 

X Ibid., p. 289.— Perrin, Hist, de Vaudois, p. 114. 

G 2 


The same inquisitor, Borelli or Borille, has been accused 
of having practised great cruelties in Susa, at the head of 
an armed troop, and particularly of having laid waste the 
valley of Pragela, or Clusone, in the dead of winter, at the 
Christmas of the year 1400. The Yaudois historians lay 
the odium of this attack on people belonging to the valley 
of Susa."^' The peaceable inhabitants of Pragela, unex- 
pectedly assailed, at a season of the year when they fancied 
themselves protected by the snows which covered the 
ridges and declivities of the mountains, could only flee with 
the utmost haste, men, women, and children, to the heights 
and rocky steeps. The fugitives, being pursued without 
intermission till nightfall, fell, many of them by the sword 
of the enemy, or were taken prisoners ; others, still more 
wretched, perished miserably of hunger and cold on the 
rocks, covered with snow and ice. The most numerous 
company fleeing in the direction of Macel, in the vale of 
San Martino, passed the night on a lofty mountain, on a 
spot still called the Albergan, or the Refuge. The heart 
is pained at the recital of their sufferings. Let it suffice 
to say, that in the morning fifty poor little children (some 
say eighty) were found dead with cold; some in their 
cradles, others in the frozen arms of their poor mothers, 
lifeless like themselves. f 

The popish troops, who had passed the night in the 
dwellings abandoned b}^ the unfortunate inhabitants of 
Clusone, the next day took the road to Susa, laden with 
plunder, and destroying what they could not carry off. 
They are charged with having hung on a tree a poor aged 
Yaudois woman. Marguerite Athode, whom they met with 
on the mountain of Meane. 

This bloody incursion, when it was noised abroad, ter- 
rified the people of Dauphine and Piedmont, and at the 
same time roused their indignation. They manifested 
their sentiments with so much energy, that the pope 
enjoined on the inquisitor to moderate his zeal and to 
exercise more prudence, from an apprehension that heresy 
might make still greater progress. This general dissatis- 
faction and these remonstrances lead us to suppose that 
even the Eoman Catholic population had suffered from this 

* The storm came thence, but they may have been ignorant of its cause, 
t De la Mothe-Langon, t. iii., p. 295.— Perrin, p. 116.— Leger, part ii., p. 7. 


expedition, in which no particular care had been taken to 
spare them. 

It wouhl seem that the persecution directed against the 
Vaudois died a^yaJ at the beginning of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, to be revived, at the close of it, with fresh violence. 

About the year 1460, the archbishop of Embrim commis- 
sioned the Franciscan monk, John Yeleti, or Yeileti, to take 
measures against the survivors in Fraissiniere, Argentiere, 
and the vale of Loyse. He discharged his mission with so 
much barbarity, partiality, and bad faith, that he irritated 
and troubled the whole comitr^^, and complaints were made 
against him to king Louis xi. In the examination of 
accused j^ersons, he altered and dictated their answers to 
liis questions without scruple. For example : if an accused 
person were asked — Do you believe that, after the sacra- 
mental words have been pronounced by the priest at mass, 
the body of Christ is in the host ? if the Yaudois replied, 
JSTo ; Yeleti would write down or dictate, The accused con- 
fesses that he does not believe in God. This iniquitous 
priest made many faithfiil disciples of the Lord pass 
through the fire.* 

Under the government of Louis of Savoy, between 1440 
and 1465, twenty-two females, denounced as Gazaris, or 
Yaudois, were burned at Coni, as having relapsed. They 
belonged to Bemezzo (Burnecium), a town of the neigh- 
bourhood, in which, according to the expression of a Roman 
Catholic Pieclmontese author, the heresy of the Poor Men 
of Lyons was rank. We notice this fact, because it is one 
of a small number, and among the last of those which show 
that the Yaudois church formerly extended in Piedmont, 
towards the south, far beyond its present limits. f 

At the instigation of Giovanni Compesio, and of the 
inquisitor Andi'ea di Aquapendente, who, on Xov. 28, 1475, 
had published very severe bulls against the Yaudois, the 
duchess lolante, a French princess, Avidow of Amedee-le- 
Bienheureux, and guardian of his son Charles, ordered, in 
January, 1476, the governors of Pinerolo and Cavor, and 
the podesta (the head of the police) of Lucerna, and her 
other officers in these distiicts, to take active measures 
for the suppression of heretics. In her ordinance, the 

* De la Mothe-Langon, t. iii., loc. cit. 
t Rorengo, iii I'Histoire de Pigiierol, t. ii. 


duchess thus expresses herself: '' It is oiu* pleasure that 
the inhahitants of the valley of Lucerna especially may 
be able to enter {venire possint) into the bosom of the 
holy mother church." The expression enter (not return) 
might lead us to suppose that up to this time there had 
not yet been any thought of denying the simultaneous 
and prior existence of the Yaudois church with that Of 

These orders were executed, and it frequently happened 
that the Yaudois, when they ventiu'ed beyond their valleys 
for commercial or other purposes, were seized and delivered 
to the inquisitors, who did not fail to put some of them to 
death. The consequence was, that there was hardly a 
city in Piedmont in which some of their number were not 
punished. Jordan Tertian, a barbe, or pastor, was burned 
at Susa. Hippolyte Roussier mounted the funeral pile at 
Turin. Yillermin Ambroise was hung at the defile of 
Meane, and so was Anthoine Hiun. XJgon Chiamp of 
Penestrelles was taken at Susa, and brought to Turin. 
There, being tied to a stake, his bowels were taken out 
and placed in a large vessel : his martyrdom was soon 

But what could these single acts of severity effect towards 
satisfying the impatience of Rome? How could a little 
blood appease the wrath of the irreconcileable enemy of the 
Yaudois — an enemy who could put on a level with crimes 
punishable by the edge of the sword or by fire, the claim 
of evangelical Chiistians to think for themselves, and the 
assertion of the right of examination in matters of faith ? 
Having commenced the application of her op])ressive sys- 
tems to the worthy and timid inhabitants of the neigh- 
bouring valleys with some partial success, how could the 
persecuting church stop in her career ? Her pride was 
interested in continuing the war which her jealousy, her 
thirst of power, her avarice and her hatred, had begun. 
But, to render her triumph certain, it was necessary that 
the attack, from being partial, local, crafty and slow, should 
become general, violent, rapid, and terrible. An expedi- 
tion of the same kind as that which annihilated the Albi- 
genses, was resolved upon against these thousands of 

* Raccolta degli Editi, etc. ; Stamperia Sinibaldo, etc. 
t L^ger, part ii., p. 7. 


labourers and herdsmen, whose firm and unwavering faith 
had resisted the assaults of the Eomish superstition, as the 
lofty summits of their moimtains withstood the threatening- 
storms, and the shock of winds and tempests. 

Innocent vni., a worthy successor of that Innocent iii.^ 
who proclaimed the first crusade against the Christians, 
charged Albert de Capitancis, archdeacon of Cremona, 
^vith the execution of his cruel projects, and gave him the 
inquisitor Blaise de Bena, of the order of preaching monks, 
as his coUeague. He accredited them to the king of France 
and the duke of Savoy, as weU as to aU the lords, as nun- 
cios and apostolic coimnissioners in their domaiA, and espe- 
cially in Dauphine and Piedmont, to proceed against that 
most pernicious and abominable sect of mischievous persons, 
called Poor Men of Lyons, or Yaudois, " which," he says 
in his bull, " has unhappily for a long time been prevalent 
in Piedmont and the neighboui'ing parts." And though 
he acknowledges that the objects of his wrath possessed an 
appearance of sanctity, he orders them to be crushed like 
venomous snakes, and to be exterminated if they refuse to 

The papal buU promised, as a recompense to all those 
princes, lords, or others, Vv^ho should arm themselves with 
the buckler of the orthodox faith, and bring help to the 
aforesaid legates, plenary indulgence, remission of their sins 
once in theii' lifetime, and the same in the article of death; 
and, what was not less tempting, it granted pennission to 
each person to appropriate to himself any possessions of 
the heretics, whether lands or goods. f 

Yery soon nothing was heard of but the bull of Inno- 
cent vin. All the countiies that bordered on the Cottian 
Alps resounded with it. At Embrun, Susa, Pinerolo, Turin, 
Yienne in Dauphine, Lyons, and even at Sion in Yalois, 
nothing was talked of but the approaching crusade .^ The 
whole population was roused. Charles viii., king of 
Prance, and Charles ii., duke of Savoy, ^ sanctioned the 
expedition, and the lords made preparations for it. A 
numerous army was on the march to smi'ound the fortress 
of heresy on aU sides, and attack it simultaneously. Albert 
de Capitaneis, armed with sufficient powers, called forth, 

* Extract from the bull of Innocent viii., L^ger, part ii. p. 8. 
t Ibid. 


urged, and directed the crusaders. Who could hope to 
escape a heart so hard, and a hand so strong ? 

The year 1488 was destined to be a time of sore distress 
to the Vaudois, and of everlasting shame to E-ome. De 
Capitaneis had two bodies of soldiers under his orders : one, 
formed in France, was designed to invade the valleys of 
Dauphine, and to come in aid of the other, which, setting 
out from Piedmont, was to surround the eastern valleys, and, 
approaching the French frontiers in a semicircle, would 
destroy all the heretics on its way. 

The first of these divisions, commanded by count de 
Yarax, lord*of La Palu, and royal lieutenant, ascended the 
mountains of Dauphine, and invaded the vale of Loyse. 
All the horrors of war fell at once on the affrighted inha- 
bitants of this valley. The papists treated them with 
unparalleled barbarity. Those who were first slain by the 
sword were the most fortunate. Those who made their 
escape to the recesses of the rocks and the depths of 
caverns, known only to the inhabitants of the valleys, were 
pursued thither ; large fires were kindled at the entrance of 
their hiding-places, and left them only the choice between 
a horrible massacre from without, or death by suffocation 
if they remained within. The greater part resigned them- 
selves to the latter. It is reported that four hundred 
young children were found stifled in these caverns, and that 
three thousand persons perished in these terrible encoun- 
ters. The misfortunes of the vale of Loyse spared the 
repetition of them to the neighbouring valle3^s of Argentiere 
and Fraissiniere. Seeing no hope of safety but in ener- 
getic resistance, they guarded the passes, defended them- 
selves valiantly, and very soon saw their persecutors retreat 
for a time. 

A corps detached from the army that was assembled in 
Dauphine, on the western side of the Alps, crossing the 
elevated defiles of the mountains, came suddenly by Cesane, 
on the eastern side, into the valley of Pragela, or Clusone, 
the most northern of all the Yaudois valleys. The hostile 
force, falling unexpectedly like an avalanche on a people 
occupied as usual in their peaceful labours, surprised them 
without the means of defence, threw them into consterna- 
tion, laid waste and ravaged their towns, pillaged their 
cottages, and massacred the inhabitants. The fugitives 


themselves were not able to escape the fiuy of their pur- 
suers. As in the vale of Loyse, inflammable materials 
Avere heaped at the enti'ance of the caverns, to which they 
had retreated from the fiuy of theii' pitiless adversaries ; 
and if they tried to escape from the flames that devoured, 
or the smoke that stifled them, they were instantly slain by 
the sword. Of all the valley of Pragela, the villages of 
Fraisse and Meane suffered the most. JSTevertheless, the 
inhabitants of Clusone, recovering from their first alarm, 
organized themselves at different points, fell, in their turn, 
on their enemies, and succeeded in repulsing them. 

The army collected in Piedmont, by the urgent appeals 
of the pope's legate, Capitaneis, and destined to extiipate 
the Yaudois heresy fi'om the valleys of San Martino, Perosa, 
and Lucerna, as well as Pravilhehn and other places in the 
valley of the Po, was now ready to invade these unhappy 
counti'ies. It is asserted that there were not less than 
eighteen thousand men in the ranks, besides a great number 
of Piedmontese, who followed them, in order to merit the 
plenary indulgence promised by the pope, and to take their 
share in the plunder. 

JS^o record has been preserved of all the particular acts 
of this great persecution ; so that we cannot even name all 
the places laid waste, or all the Yaudois churches that were 
destroyed. But it is ver^- probable that, from this epoch, 
the ruin must be dated of numbers of the Yaudois, in the 
towns and villages of the plain of Piedmont. 

As for the attacks on the valleys, strictly so called, we 
possess more details. It appears that one division of the 
army penetrated with no great difficulty into the valley of 
Lucerna. This was too large, and the ground too little 
broken for men unaccustomed to war to oppose effectively 
the enti'ance of a numerous body of soldiers, well armed 
and disciplined. San Giovanni, La Torre, Yillaro, Bobbio, 
and all their hamlets, were occupied by the enemy. God 
alone knows all that was inflicted on those who had not 
escaped in time. 

Bobbio is the last "v-illage in the plain of the valley of 
Lucerna, peacefrilly seated in the midst of chestnut-trees and 
vines, surrounded by beautiftil and gently-sloping meadows, 
at the base of gigantic mountains, through which the Pelice 
forces its way, and rolls along murmuring and covered 

G 3 


with foam. From this fertile spot, rich in the beauties of 
natnre, bnt then laid waste by greedy and pitiless soldiers, a 
defile open« to the north between the rocks. The mountain- 
path tracked upon it by herdsmen rises to the ridge of 
Mount Julien, (Giuliano,) which, not far from the formid- 
able i3eaks of the French frontier to the west, and the 
"heights of the valley of Angrogna to the east, separates the 
valley of Lueerna, on the south, from that of San Martino 
on the north. Following its course, always in a northerly 
direction over the ojDposite slope, across pasture-land and 
woods, we descend at last to the hamlets of the comm.une 
of Prali, scattered over a plain inclosed by steep mountains. 
It was to this spot, and through the pass we have been 
describing, that seven hundred men, detached from the 
papal army which occupied the valley of Lueerna, brought 
all the horrors of war. They had hoped to siu-prise this 
peaceable district, which, from its position at the extremity 
of the valley of San Martino, and out of any direct road, 
might have thought itself secure from attack. For an 
instant the invaders might suppose they had succeeded. 
They had reached the hamlet of Pommiers, when they 
found themselves assailed by the united Pralins with a 
courage so impetuous, that they could make but little re- 
sistance. Fatig-ued by a long and rapid march over roads, 
uneven, slippery and steep, astonished at meeting, instead 
of affrighted and suppliant fugitives, armed men full of 
ardour, and some of them urged on by gloomy desperation, 
they soon gave way, and were all cut in pieces, save one, 
an ensign. During the massacre, he escaped along the 
torrent, which he reascended, and concealed himself under 
a great mass of snoAV, in a cavity which had been formed 
by the melting of the snow, (for it was summer,) and there 
he remained till cold and hunger forced him to descend 
and implore mercy from those whom he would have mas- 
sacred. His request was readily granted. The Praliris, 
appeased by their success, allowed him to go in peace, to 
announce the defeat and death of all his companions. 

The efforts of the crusading army were directed prin- 
cipally to the vale of Angrogna, which might be regarded 
as the heart of the valleys ; and was doubtless then, as on 
many other occasions, the place of refuge, and the fortress 
of the affrighted inhabitants. This glen, a lateral and 


northern branch of the valley of Lueerna, descends from 
the north and "svest, where the sharp ridges of Soiran, 
rinfernet, and the Eons, separate it from the Alpine pastm-es 
of the valley of San Martino towards the south-east, and 
opens hy an abrupt bend to the south into the valley of 
Lueerna, to the east of the town of La Torre. The spinal 
ridge of rocks and peaks which, from the Eous on the west, 
inclines eastward, and terminates in the magnificent Tan- 
dalin, with its pp-amidal sides, closes the glen on the 
south, and separates it from the valley of Lueerna, as far 
as the spot where it merges into that valley. On this side 
it is impregnable. From the heights of Sou'an, on the 
north, the chain of mountains which separates the vale of 
Aiigrogna from the valley of San Martino and the half-val- 
ley of Perosa, lies to the south-east, flattened and uniform 
all the way from Mount Cervin. It is called the Sea of 
Angrogna. It turns, at last, towards the south, and de- 
scends in an undulating manner from the heights of 
Eoceamaneot upon the sides of San Giovanni, and is lost 
in the valley. On the declivity of this chain first towards 
the south, and then the west, the principal hamlets of the 
valley are situated on gentle slopes. This vast plain, with a 
regular siu^face, cleared of woods, and covered with pasture- 
land in the higher parts, inclines afterwards more decidedly, 
subdivides and breaks in the lower part into diversified 
ridges, shaded by a forest of magnificent fruit-trees, and 
terminates by precipitous ravines in the torrent of Angrogna 
at the bottom of the valley. The road which leads from 
La Ton^e to the populous hamlets scattered over these fertile 
slopes, follows the windings of the river, undulating and 
bending, according to the inclination of the hills, on the 
left bank, half-way up. 

To attack Angrogna on this side would have been foUy. 
The steeps, the bends, the rents of the ground, fuiTowed 
with streams, as well as the shelter of the chestnut and 
wahiut trees, with their thick foliage, which perpetiially 
intercept the view, would expose an army to continual 
sui-prises, and enable a small number of resolute men to 
stop it at every step, and would subject it to perpetual 
losses, and to be attacked and hurled down the precipices 
which are all along the road. 

Eut if the valley of Angrogna could not be forced on this 


side, it might be by gaining the high plateau by means of 
the gentle declivities which rise from the plain of San 
Giovanni, at the entrance of the valley of Lucerna, in a 
northerly direction, towards the Sea of Angrogna, by the 
heights of Roccamaneot, Once arrived there, a hostile 
troop is master of the higher plateau. No obstacle opposes 
its march, till it reaches the rocks which inclose the retired 
vale of Pra-di-torre : it may then rush down, like a devas- 
tating torrent, on the hamlets it overlooks, and which have 
no further means of natural defence. 

It was by the latter road we have been describing that 
the army of crusaders prepared to invade the central valley 
of Angrogna. They left their quarters, and prepared to 
climb, by the declivity of San Giovanni, the southern side of 
the hills, directing their march towards the upper plateau 
and rock of Roccamaneot. On these hills, the poor Yau- 
dois had to sustain a very severe combat. They prepared 
for it by prayer. Their enemies, as they advanced, saw 
them prostrate, and heard the petitions they offered aloud 
to God. The papists ridiculed them, being full of con- 
fidence in their o^vn numbers, equipments, and valour. 
But the Divine mercy secured the victory to the smaller 
number; God hearkened to those who relied upon him. 
Among the assailants, one of the principal leaders, Le 
jSToir, of Mondovi, another Goliath defjdng Israel, boasted, 
with horrible blasphemies, of the carnage he would make 
among these heretical herdsmen, when, having raised his 
visor on account of the heat, and to show his contempt, he 
was struck between the eyes by an arrow discharged loj 
Peiret Pevil, of Angrogna. He fell; and his death so 
terrified his companions in arms, already surprised and 
embarrassed by the obstinate resistance of the Yaudois, 
that they turned their backs on those whom they had before 
despised, and fled with much loss. The joy felt for so 
great a deliverance was expressed on the field of battle, 
and in all the valley, by thanksgivings and hymns of 

The enemy, irritated by their loss, and ashamed of the 
defeat, having reassembled all their forces, again assailed 
the valley of Angrogna, and made themselves masters of 
all the plateau and the hamlets on the left side of the 
torrent as far as Eocciailla, a mass of rocks which descends 


abriiptlj^ from the neighbouring heights of La Yachere, 
southward to the very bed of the toiTent, and separates the 
lower and cultivated valley of Angrogna fi'om the upper. 
This latter valley is perfectly alpine in its character, and 
has the form of an immense funnel, broken on the eastern 
side ; it is bounded on the south by the sharp ridge of the 
majestic Yandalin, on the west by the snow}^ simimits of 
Sella Yeglia and the Rous, on the north by the frightful 
rocks of the Infernet and Soiran, and on the east b}- the 
Rocciailla, a mass of rocks not very pointed, but steep and 
rugged, which confine the torrent of the Angrogna at its 

In the centre of this funnel is an extensive meadoAV, 
bounded on one side by the torrent, and on the other by 
some buildings; it is the Pradutoiu-, or Predutoui' — Pra- 
di-toiTe — so celebrated in Yaudois history. On this spot, 
according to tradition, was once situated that celebrated 
school of the barbes, or pastors, which preserved the holy 
doctrine of the primitive church imdefiled and pure, which 
fed the flame of evangelical truth in these retired mountains, 
and diffiised its light to a distance by means of its mission- 
aries. This retired glen, fertile in its lower parts, was 
chosen in almost all the persecutions as a last earthly re- 
fuge,^'' with some other spots equally inacccessible. Thither 
the population of Angrogna, and the fugitives who had 
joiued them, hastily betook themselves, and crowded their 
iamilies into it, with the little property they were able 
to save. 

In ascending the lower valley of Angrogna, as was done 
by the victorious army of the pajDists, the only way of 
reaching the Pra-di-torre was through a defilef at the foot 
of inaccessible rocks, which only open wide enough for the 
passage of the torrent and a narrow road. It was in this 
contracted gorge, between Eocciailla and the Angrogna, that 
the victorious bands entangled themselves. The more 
advanced were on the point of penetrating into the refuge 
of the Yaudois, the Pra-di-torre, when all at once they were 
enveloped in a thick fog. They could not distinguish a 
single object, nor tell whereabouts they were ; they dared 

* Pra-di-torre was not the only place whicli served as a retreat, but all the 
low neighbouring country, which includes Ciauvia, Chiot, Chaudet, etc. 

t The enemy attempted aftenvards to peneti-ate by other roads, but with the 
same ill success. 


not advance for fear of a surprise, but halted in a state of 
extreme disquietude. At this juncture, the Angrognines, 
emboldened by this interposition of Providence in their 
favour, issued forth from all their retreats, vigorously 
attacked their perplexed aggressors, whom they defeated, 
put to flight, and jDursued. Profiting by the knowledge 
they possessed of the locality, they soon came up Avith 
them, by crossing the rocks, and took them in flank. The 
fugitives choking up the narrow road, were crowded toge- 
ther, and in pressing forwards precipitated one another over 
the rocks into the foaming waters. The fog, the precipices, 
the rocks, and the torrent, made more victims on that day 
than the swords of the Yaudois. The number of deaths 
was very considerable. Tradition has preserved a faithful 
memorial of one of the men whom the hand of God smote 
in this defeat — a captain Saguet, or Saquet, of Polonghera, 
in Piedmont, a man of colossal size, who filled the ak with 
his blasphemies and his menaces against the Yaudois. His 
foot slipped over the edge of a rock, he fell into the boihng 
waters of the Angrogna, was carried away, and thrown by 
them into a whirlpool or basin, which still goes by his 
name ; Tempi Saquet. 

Many other assaults were made on the Yaudois in their 
difl'erent retreats. It is known that the valleys of Perosa 
and San Martino sufiered from the cruelties of the army of 
the legate Capitaneis. Pra^dlhelm, in the valley of the Po, 
was also attacked. Much blood was shed in these repeated 
combats. The unfortunate inhabitants were oppressed with 
grief, and recovered very slowly from their disasters ; yet the 
course of years has succeeded in effacing the recollection of 
the greater number of the scenes of desolation which de- 
formed this 23eriod. This, however, is well known, that God 
everywhere succoured his children ; and that after this army 
had for a twelvemonth hovered over these valleys and the 
adjacent parts, like a menacing tempest, the prince of 
Piedmont, Charles ii.,^' ]Dut an end to a war so injurious 
to his subjects. This young prince, only twenty years of 
age, being desirous of peace, expressed his displeasure at 
this cruel conflict, and sent proposals of peace to the 
Yaudois. He entrusted this mission to a bishop who 

* Gilles attributes this peace to diike Philip, but he is mistaken, for this 
prince was then in France, and did not begin to reign till 1496. 


came to Prassuit, a hamlet of the ralle}- of Angrogua, to 
confer with the mountaineers. The prelate assured them 
of the good- will for their sovereign, and of the kindly recep- 
tion he was ready to give them ; and succeeded in per- 
suading them to send a deputation. 

The Yaudois sent twelve of the principal persons among 
them to Pinerolo, whom the duke graciously received. He 
questioned them for a long time, and, after hearing theii- 
answers, candidly declared that he had been misinformed 
both as to their persons and their belief. He wished to 
see theii' chikben ; for it had been certified to him that they 
were all born with some monstrous deformity, such as one 
eye in their foreheads, four rows of black teeth, and other 
things of that sort. "WTien he found that those who were 
brought to him were beautiful and well made, he could not 
repress his indignation at having been so grossly imposed 
upon. Being imdeceived as to his opinion of his Yaudois 
subjects, he accepted the gift which the deputies offered 
him in the name of the people, conni-med them in theii' 
privileges and accustomed liberties, •>' and promised that 
they should be unmolested in future. 

Such was the issue of this cruel crusade of the year 
1488, undertaken in the name of a merciless religion, and 
which owed its termination to the sense of justice in a 
T^ise prince. Alas! how frequently shaU we have occa- 
sion to see the same facts and the same characters present 
themselves again, Avith only some variation of circimi- 
stances. Cakimny has been but too often a weapon in the 
mouth of Eome to destroy the faithful Yaudois. 

After the peace of 1489, several years passed away in 
tranquillity for those of the Yaudois who sui'vived the cruel 
persecution we have been narrating. But the year 1500 
Avas marked by a most violent attack on the Yaudois in the 
upper valley of the Po, in the marquisate of Saluzzo. Theii' 
neighbours, the Yaudois of Bagnolo, so numerous, and 
formerly so weU known, had now entirely disappeared. 
The story of theii^ misfortunes has not come down to pos- 
terity. "We know not when or how they ceased to exist ; 
but the arm which effected theur extirpation could be no 

* We feel certain that these privileges and hberties were those renewed br 
the marquises of Lucema in favour of their subjects, when they submitted to 
the house of Savoy. 


other than that which decimated the valleys. The same 
spirit of darkuess infused thoughts of destruction into the 
heart of Marguerite de Foix, Avidow of the marquis of 
Saluzzo, against her Yaudois subjects of Pravilhelm, the 
Biolets and Bietone, in the upper valley of the Po. Being 
assailed and persecuted with unceasing rancour, these poor 
people saw no hope of safety but in flight. They retired 
to the valley of Lucerna. From that place they addressed 
petitions to their sovereign, for five years, to be reinstated 
in their dwellings and possessions. Yain hope ! The only 
reply was the dishonourable proposal to sell their souls by 
accepting popery. Such a mercenary and criminal pro- 
ceeding was foreign to their simplicity : they demanded 
justice, and that being refused, they resolved upon taking 
it by force. Perhaps, in doing so, they went bej'-ond the 
bounds of Christian moderation. Under the conduct of 
one of their number, an intrepid man, they unexpectedly 
returned in arms to their ancient dwelling-places. Sword 
in hand, they drove away the papists who had established 
themselves there, and struck such terror into the surround- 
ing population, that, expecting repose only by a compro- 
mise with the legitimate and ancient inhabitants of the 
contested territory, and recollecting, no doubt, the friendly 
relations that had formerly existed between them, they 
joined in imploring from their sovereign the free return of 
the Vaudois to their villages. This was granted, as well 
as the enjoyment of their liberties in what concerned their 

Thus the persecutions raised against the Yaudois, who 
were faithful to the religion of their fathers, terminated for 
a time.* 



The peace of 1489 could not heal all the wounds in- 
flicted on the Yaudois by persecution. It is true that 
the kind language of the duke of Savoy had at first excited 

* Our authorities for this part of the narrative are the works of De la Mothe- 
Langon, Perrin, and Gilles. 


hopes in manj' hearts ; but it was too soon perceived that 
the new state of things was very uncertain and precarious. 
The Yaudois population was considerably diminished in 
the valleys. Could it be otherA^, after so many con- 
flicts and massacres? And in the towns and villages of 
the plain of Piedmont, where some Yaudois churches had 
existed, cruel persecution had destroyed them : it had slain, 
dispersed, or diiven into concealment, their members and 
adherents. The loss of so many friends and brethren was 
most mournful, and the ruin of so many Yaudois con- 
gregations, that ^^'ere lights in the midst of darkness, was 
irreparable. If the Yaudois churches in the bosom of the 
Alps could henceforth have been secui'e from the snares of 
the enemies of their faith ! but their plots, though more 
concealed, were not the less kept in operation. Instead of 
crusades, with an armed force, which were susj)ended for a 
time, omng to the humanity or policy of the prince, the 
Romish clergy had recourse to secret manoeuvres, the 
employment of underhand methods, and the regular agency 
of the tribunals of the inquisition. These latter, by virtue 
of the privileges granted by the civil authority, had the 
right of judging special cases of heresy which might occui'. 
The external situation of the Yaudois, already decimated, 
weakened, and impoverished by the war of 1488, was there- 
fore very precarious, not'svithstanding the peace concluded 
with their sovereign. In such times, when disasters had 
been succeeded by an uncertain peace, or one which gave 
little confidence to the enfeebled population, if no event, 
nor any new incentive occurred to invigorate their depressed 
energies, a torpor seized them; the dread of fi'esh misfortunes, 
if any exertion were made, paralysed their members, and 
a cowardly desire of repose made even slavery acceptable. 

Such was the lamentable condition of the Yaudois j)opu- 
lation of the Piedmontese valleys after the peace of 1489, 
enfeebled, impoverished, decimated, in di'ead of fresh per- 
secutions. A timid spectator of the isolated sufferings of 
those of her sons who ventiu'ed into the plains of Piedmont, 
and were arrested by the inquisition,^' the Yaudois church, 

* Perrin, in his Histoire des Vaudois, says, (p. 165,) " The monkish inquisi- 
tors always conunenced law proceedings against those whom they could lay 
hold of, and particularly lay in wait for them at a certain convent, (no doubt 
the convent of I'Abbadle,) netir Pinerolo, from which they delivered them to 
the secular power. 


while seeking an alleviation of her sorrows in the pro- 
mises and kind language of her prince, was threatened in 
her interior life. A great number of her members, occu- 
pied with their temporal interests, and forgetting the 
Saviour's injimction on the duty of confessing his name, 
had recourse to shamefal and criminal dissimulation. In 
order to be shielded from all interruption in their journeys 
on business, they obtained from the priests, who were settled 
in the valleys,^' certificates or testimonials of their being- 
papists. To claim them, they frequented the Eoman Catholic 
churches, were present at mass, confessed, and had their 
children baptized by the priests. It is true that they 
fancied that they palliated their fault by saying to them- 
selves, when they entered the temples of the enemies of 
their faith, ^'Cave of robbers, may God confound thee ! " 
It is true that they also attended the preaching of the 
barbes, or Yaudois pastors, and submitted to their cen- 
sure, f But these precautions, far from acquitting them, 
made their dujolicity, and their divided heart, and the 
severe judgment which their own consciences passed upon 
their conduct, more striking. The Yaudois church, in 
tolerating so great a scandal, evidently suffered a stream of 
impurity to flow into the channels of her spiritual life, 
which had been hitherto nourished by the pure water of 
the word of God alone. She manifestly incurred the risk of 
altering her faith, and modifying the profession of it. 

But the invisible Head of the church, the Lord who had 
redeemed her by his blood, watched over this feeble but 
ancient portion of his inlieritance with love. As a friend 
never shows himself more faithful than in the moment of 
danger, nor more tender than in the hour of affliction, so 
the Lord Jesus came to deliver the Yaudois church when 
her temptations were aggravated, and to console her under 
all her sufferings, by announcing his triumph over anti- 
christ in the E,EFOEMATio]sr. How much is contained in 
that single word ! 

'^ Reformation !" It expresses nothing less than a deep, 
radical, and complete renovation of the form, constitution. 

* It is very doubtful wliether there were other ministers, excepting at La 
Torre, Lucerna, and Bricherasco. This would form the subject of an inter- 
esting investigation, 

t Gilles, p. 28. 


and life of the chiux-h ; nothing less than a return to its 
primitive state ; than a rc-establishment of doctrine, morals, 
and divine service on the foundations laid by our Lord him- 
self and the apostles, and an aspii^ation after a new life of 
faith, self-denial, charity and holiness ; in one word, a life 
hid with Christ in God. For a long time, even in the 
chui'ch of Eome itself, reform had been talked of : princes, 
magistrates, men of science and letters, ecclesiastical per- 
sons, and nimibers of the faithful among the laity, had at 
different times demanded it : even the assembly of bishops 
at the council of Constance wished to attempt it, but 
always in vain. The evil was too great ; the plague too 
deep and inveterate ; the body itself too tainted, for the cui*e 
to be attempted in good faith and with, the consent of all its 
members. Every one was sensible of the evil, and marked 
its symptoms, but no one in the chiu'ch pointed out its 
true cause. a^o one was for applying to it the only 
efficacious remedy, namely, the faithful preaching of the 
word of God. The youngest child among the Yaudois 
could have indicated it; but for the Romish church to 
discover the remedy, and consent to employ it, needed a 
direct intervention of Divine Providence ; for how could the 
cruel persecutors of the Albigenses and Yaudois, of her 
own accord, seek for the cure in the very book which had 
animated, and still sustained and consoled the objects of her 
hatred ? 

This miracle of mercy God was pleased to effect in 
many places, and in more than one heai-t at once, that the 
glory might redound to him, and not to any human being. 
He awakened the love of the truth, and excited here and 
there a sj)irit of inquiry, which for a long time had been 
unknown in the Eomish church. He put into the hands of 
men " after his own heart " the text of the holy Scriptures, 
and revealed the meaning to them by his Spirit. In 
France an old man, a distinguished doctor ; in Germany, a 
young monk, Martin Luther, concerned for his own salva- 
tion, in a convent in Saxony; in S^uitzerland, Zwingli, a 
young cure, devoted to his pastoral duties, at Glaris, in the 
bosom of the Alps, and afterwards to the office of preacher 
in the celebrated abbey of jS^otre-Dame-des-Ermites, (our 
Lady of the Hermits, ) or of Einsiedlen, re-established simul- 
taneously, by the sole study of the Bible, and without being 


privy to one another's labours, the vital doctrines of the 

'No sooner were they initiated into evangelical truth, and 
regenerated by it, than these men, blessed from on high, 
had only one desire, that of glorifjdng God, by communi- 
cating to others, their friends, their relations, and their 
contemporaries the grace which had been sho^vn to them. 
In their familiar conversations, they excited great interest 
in recounting the providential circumstances by which God 
had put into their hands the sacred text, and opened their 
hearts to its insjDirations. By these recitals, they produced 
in many souls the lively and profound emotions which they 
had themselves experienced; the joy, the ecstasy, the alarm, 
the penitence, and the gratitude, which by turns had taken 
possession of their own minds in reading the declarations 
of God's word. By their preaching and public instructions, 
these illustrious reformers, above all those of Germany and 
Switzerland, had poured streams of light, and infused a 
vital warmth, into a multitude of sincere hearts. By their 
publications, by their commentaries, and especially by the 
translation, printing, and dissemination of the holy Scrip- 
tui'es, they had brought within the reach of all those who 
possessed some elementary instruction, and, through them, 
M^ithin every one's reach, the knowledge of God and of his 
Christ, according to the gospel. 

The light was replaced on the candlestick. By its vivid 
and pure radiance the superstitions, the idolatry, the errors, 
and the vices of Home, appeared in all their deformity. 
Thousands of sincere souls turned from the way of destruc- 
tion in which their blind leaders had hitherto kept them, 
and advanced with joy, confidence, and hope, in the paths 
of the gospel. 

The Reformation had extended itself in Germany and 
Switzerland ; it had tried its strength at Paris, Meaux, and 
various other places, when the report of its operations 
resounded as far as the Yaudois churches of Piedmont, 
Dauphine, and Provence. These ancient churches, isolated, 
surrounded by enemies, weakened, and somewhat discou- 
raged by persecution, were roused at the consolatory news 
of a retui'n to the word of God, to the doctrine of salvation 

* See Merle D'Aubigii<5's History of tlie Reformation of the Sixteenth Centmy . 


by faith in Jesus Christ, and to a purer life, in countries 
heretofore papal. They hastened to collect certain infor- 
mation, and to enter into connexion with their new brethren. 
As early as the year 1526 the barbe (or pastor) ^lartin, of 
the valley of Lucerna, had returned from one of these joiu'- 
neys of inquiiy, and brought back many books printed by 
the refonners. This fact is proved by the deposition of one 
Bartolomeo Fea, who lived near Pinerolo, but, having been 
cast into prison on account of his religion, confessed to the 
inquisitors that the aforesaid barbe Martin, on his return 
from German^', had called at his house, shown him the 
books which he brought back, and given him a wonderful 
account of the reformation that had taken place. ^'' 

Of all the joui^neys of the Yaudois barbes at this period, 
that of Georges Alorel, of Merindol, and Pierre Masson,t 
a native of Burgimdy, is the best known. Having been 
deputed by the Yaudois churches of Provence and Dauphine:|: 
to ^isit the reformers of Switzerland and Germany, they 
held a conference ^ith the brethren of Xeuchatel, Morat, 
and Berne, with Berthold Haller, and doubtless, also, with 
William Farel;§ and in the month of October, 1530, they 
presented to (Ecolampadius, the reformer of Bale, a long 
document in Lathi, in which they gave a complete account 
of their ecclesiastical discipline, worship, manners, and 
docti'ine, requesting, at the same time, his advice on seve- 
ral points. 

This document, marked by a humility and openness of 
heart not common even among brethren in the faith, throws 
great light on the internal state, at that time, of the Yaudois 
churches in the south-east of Prance. It is also probable 
that this state was more or less that of their neighboui's, 
the Yaudois churches in Piedmont, but perhaps in a less 
degree of declension. The precediag accounts give us a 
glimpse of this ; the sequel will render it certain. 

The exposition made by the barbe Morel, and which may 
be found in Scultetus, or'in Euchat, shows that there was 
among the Yaudois of that time a sensible inferiority in 

* Gilles, p. 30. 

t G-. Morel's companion is called Latome by Scultetiis. 

+ Perrra asserts positively that they were sent by the Vaudois churches of 
France, and not by all the Vaudois churches. 

§ [See the Life of WUHam Fai-el, from the German of the Rev. Melchjor 
Kirchhofer ; pubUshed bv the Rehgious Tract Society, London, 1837, pp. 102 
—104, 271.] 


their acquaintance with saving truth, and especially in the 
profession of evangelical faith, if we compare them with 
their ancestors, such as they are made known to us by 
history, and the religious writings of the twelfth century.^' 
The information given by Georges Morel respecting the 
barbes, or pastors of the Vaudois churches, agrees in general 
with what we know of their ancient discipline. Yet we 
may trace indications in his statement of a certain unset- 
tledness or uncertainty on some points of doctrine or dis- 
cipline, an imperfect acquaintance with the Scriptures, and, 
as it strikes us, a limited knowledge of their very inter- 
esting religious literature. 

The candidate for the pastoral charge, having been em- 
ployed in agricultural labour, or as a herdsman, till the 
age of twenty-five or thirty, came before the barbes, and 
made known his wishes. If the inquiry respecting his 
character proved satisfactory, he spent the winter months 
for the next three or four years in self-improvement : he 
learnt by heart the Gospels according to Matthew and 
John, the catholic (or general) Epistles, and a good part of 
those of St. Paul. After this, he had to pass a year or two 
in retirement. In this part. Morel speaks of sisters, or virgins, 
living together in perpetual celibacy, and says that it was 
to the place where these resided that candidates were sent, 
to prepare in silence for the functions of the sacred ministry, 
to which they were afterwards appointed, by partaking of 
the eucharist and imposition of hands. This kind of reli- 
gious society of females is a fact without parallel in the Yau- 
dois history, and, if it be true, would prove, in conjunction 
with the celibacy of the barbes, then generally practised, 
that Romish notions had become considerably prevalent at 
this period, at least in the churches of Provence. 

The holy ministry, as it appears, was exercised in faith 
and love. The doctrine taught was, for the most part, the 
same as in remote times ; it was always, in essential points, 
evangelical. Yet it would appear that, in what regards 
the acceptance of salvation, and the internal life of the 
Christian, the barbes at that time aUowed an immense share 
to the human will. "We believe," say they, ''that all 
men have naturally some gift, which God has bestowed 

* Scultetns Annalium Evangelii, etc., Heidelbergfe, 1618, t. ii., p. 294.— 
Eucliats Hist, de la Reformation de la Suisse, t. ii., p. 319, and follomng. 


Oil them, one man more, and another less ; so that men 
can do something b}^ this power which is given them, but 
especially when God stimulates and excites it, as he says 
himself: * Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.' " 
Moreover, they did not admit predestination, excepting 
^dth certain explanations, which reduced it to be nothing 
more than an anticipated view of human intentions and 
actions by the omniscience of God. 

Some Homish tendencies are also perceptible, such as 
auricular confession, but ^dthout superstition or tp'anny. 
They asked the reformers whether it was proper to have 
degrees of dignity among ministers of the word of God, 
such as bishops, priests, and deacons ? whether the dis- 
tinction of sin, as original, venial, and mortal, were correct ? 
whether it was allowable to pray for the dead ? which were 
the ceremonial, and which the civil precepts? Avhether 
these ordinances were entirely abolished by the coming of 
Jesus Christ? They rejected pui'gatory, as a fiction of 
anticlirist ; also, all the inventions of men, such as saints' 
days, vigils, holy water, abstinence from meat at certain 
times ; and, in particular, they looked upon the mass as a 
horrible abomination before God. But they tolerated one 
great evil : through weakness and fear of theu' persecutors, 
they had their children baptized by the priests, and com- 
mimicated at the mass. 

The injustice and cruelty of their enemies having brought 
the Yaudois into numberless dangers, and occasioned their 
adoption of particular modes of acting, Georges Morel in- 
fXuired whether open force or stratagem could be autho- 
rized in cases where life and property were endangered ? 
He also proposed the question, whether it was allowable 
for the faithful (Yaudois) to plead before unbeHe\'ing 
(Roman Catholic) judges ? 

OEcolampadius, like the other refonners, beheld with 
deep emotion and delight their foreign brethren, deputed 
by the ancient Yaudois churches, the small remnant of 
evangelical Cliristians who had escaped, as by mii^acle, from 
the persecutions of Rome. With all his colleagues, he 
blessed God for the preservation of these disciples of the 
truth ; these lowly flocks, scattered at the foot and in the 
bosom of the Alps ; saved with difficulty from the snares 
that were constantly laid for their lives as weU as their 


souls. These sentiments are expressed in the answer of 
the reformer of Bale to the Yaudois of Provence, dated 
October 13, 1530. '' It is not," he tells them, '' without 
a lively sentiment of joy in Christ that we have learned 
from Georges Morel who takes such faithful care of your 
salvation, what are your religious belief and worship. We 
render thanks to our most gracious Father that he has 
called you into such marvellous light, dimng ages in which 
such thick darkness has covered almost the whole world, 
under the empire of antichrist. We acknowledge also that 
Christ is in you ; we therefore love you as brethren ; and 
(xod grant that we may be able to testify the affection of 
our hearts by its fruits !" 

To these expressions of kindness and proofs of attach- 
ment, the reformer felt himself impelled to add some 
Christian observations and counsels of truth, which fidelity 
demanded of him : '' As we approve of many things among 
you, so there are several which we wish to see amended. 
We are informed that the fear of persecution has caused 
you to dissemble, and to conceal your faith. Now you 
know that with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, 
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation ; but 
that those who are ashamed of Christ before the world, will 
not be acknowledged by him before his Father. Because 
our God is truth, he will be served in truth ; and as he is 
a jealous God, he will not permit his own people to put 
themselves under the 5^oke of antichrist, — for there is no 
concord between Christ and Belial. You commune mth 
unbelievers ; you take part in their abominable masses, in 
which the death and passion of Christ are blasphemed. 
For when they boast of making satisfaction for the sins 
of the living and the dead by their sacrifices, what is the 
consequence, unless it be that Christ has not made satisfac- 
tion by his one sacrifice ? that Christ is not what his name 
of Jesus signifies, that is, a Saviour, — and that he died for 
us in vain ? And in saying Amen ! to their prayers, do we 
not deny Christ ? How many deaths would it not be better 

to sufifer ? I know your weakness ; but it becomes 

those who know they have been redeemed by the blood of 

Christ to be more courageous It is letter for us to 

die than to he overcome ly temptation.^'' 

fficolampadius replied in the spirit of the reformation to 


all the other questions which they had proposed to him, 
giA^ng the required explanations and counsels. It is not 
necessary to detail them here. Suffice it to say, that the 
doctor of the Ecformation and the pastor of the ancient 
Yaudois church, felt themselves to be brethren, and the 
Lord gave them the unity of the Spirit in the bond 'of 

From Bale, the two deputies of the Yaudois went to 
Strasburg, to confer with Bucer and Capito. They took 
a letter of reconnnendation to the former fi'om (Ecolam- 
padius, dated Oct. 27, 1530. 

This direct communication of the Yaudois barbes 'with the 
reformers of Switzerland and Strasburg has still a veiy 
legitimate interest for us in the present day. It is delight- 
ful to see that the conscientious study of the word of Grod 
led the reformers, when they left the Eoman church, to 
reconstiiict a church wliich, from its first formation, won 
the esteem and sympathy of the ancient Yaudois churches, 
which had preserved the doctrine and worship of the first 
ages of Christianity as pure, at least, as it was in their 
power to do. It is equally instructive to see the reformed 
churches, which it has been attempted to depreciate, by 
calling them new, confirming by their unity of faith, and 
even by theii' community of forms, with the Yaudois 
churches, the antiquity of their doctrine, worshij), and 
ecclesiastical organization. Some slight differences on 
secondary points, which have been noticed, do not weaken 
this assertion any more than some slight symptoms of 
decline in a little persecuted flock would. 

The two Yaudois barbes having fulfilled their mission, 
and being furnished with the answer of Qiiolampadius, set 
out on their journey homewards. One of them, Pierre 
Masson, could not escape suspicion ; he was waylaid and 
arrested at Dijon, imprisoned, and condemned to death. 
Georges Morel was more fortunate, and passed unnoticed 
with his letters and papers, and arrived safely in Provence.* 

The answer of G^colampadius produced a powerful im- 
pression throughout the Yaudois churches. The pastors 
of the valleys discussed among themselves, and in con- 
ferences with their neighboiu's, the questions of wliich it 
treated. As some diversities of opinion still existed, and 

* Perrin, p. 216. 



it was thoiiglit proper to rc\dsit the reformers of Germany 
and Switzerland several times, it was also decided to con- 
voke a synod, in order to terminate the business. All the 
Vaudois churches were to be represented in it. The Swiss 
pastors were in\dted. A great number, convened at Grandi- 
son, in French Smtzerland, chose as their representative 
William Farcl, that bold and faithful reformer, and Antony 
Saunier, both natives of Dauphine.*' 

The presence of Farel at the Yaudois S3rnod is confirmed 
by the deposition of a Vaudois, who was cast into prison 
by Bersour, in the persecution of 1535. Jeannet Peyrel, 
of Angrogna, deposed that he had kept guard for the 
ministers who taught the good law, who were assembled in 
the town of Chanforans,f in the centre of Angrogna, and 
said that amongst others there was one called Farel, who 
had a red beard, and a beautiful white horse, and two others 
accompanied him, one of whom had a horse almost black, 
and the other was very tall, and rather lame, j' 

The synod met in Angrogna, at the place called Chan- 
forans, and commenced its sittings September 12, 1532. § 
It was solemn and decisive. All the questions had been 
sufhciently matured ; they were then debated very freely 
for six days. II At length the synod, or assembly of the 
barbes and heads of families, prepared a short confession of 
faith, which may be considered as a supplement to the 
ancient confession of faith of the year 1120, wliich it does 
not contradict in any point. It consists of seventeen 
articles, which are as follows :^\ 

" 1. We believe that divine worship ought to be per- 
formed in spirit and in truth, for God is a Spirit, and desires 
that those who worship him should do so in spirit and in 

"2. That all those who have been, and shall be saved, 
have been chosen hj God before the foundation of the 

* Riichat, t. iii., p. 176 and 557. 

t Now a lone house, near Odins, towai'ds Le Serre. 

t Gilles, p. 40. 

§ Perrin misdates it Sept. 12, 1535, since the Vaudois chiu'chwas at that time 
harassed with persecution. Leger, pt. i., p. 95, is equally wrong in fixing it 
December 12, 1532. Tliis time of the year would have been far too severe for 
the journey of the Swiss deputies and of so many pastors from beyond the 

II Gilles, p. 41. 

i[ L^ger, pt. i., p. 95. Copied from a manuscript in the Ubrary of the 
University of Cambridge. See also Gilles ; and Perrin, p. 157. 


''3. That it is impossible that those who have been 
ordained (elected) to salvation should not be saved. 

'; 4. That whoever establishes the fix>e-wiU of man denies 
entirely the predestination and grace of Grod. 

"5. That no work is good but that which God has com- 
manded, and none bad but what he has forbidden.* 

''6. That a Christian may swear by the name of God 
without contravening what is mitten in Matthew v. 34, 
pro^^ded that he who swears does not take the name of the 
Lord m vain. It is not taken in vain when the oath tends 
to the glory of God and the welfare of one's neighbour. 
Moreover, an oath may be taken before a magistrate, because 
he who fills the office, whether he be a believer or un- 
believer, holds his power of God. 

''7. That auiicular confession is not commanded of God' 
nor appointed by the Holy Scriptui'es ; that the ti'ue con- 
fession of a Chiistian is to confess to God alone, to whom 
belong honour and glorj^ ; that there is another sort of con- 
fession, which is, when any one seeks reconciliation with 
Ills neighbour, spoken of in Matthew v. ; a third sort of 
c^ession is, when any one has committed some public 
offence, and confesses it also publicly. 

''8. That on Sundays we ought to cease from oui' earthly 
labom^s, from zeal for God and love towards oui' servants, 
and that we may apply om^selves to hearing the word of 

''9. That a Chiistian is not permitted to avenge himself 
m any manner on his enemy. 

''10. That a Chiistian may exercise the office of a magi- 
strate over other Christians. 

''11. That the Scriptures do not fix any time for a 
Christian's fasting. 

"12. That marriage is not forbidden to any one, in any 
condition whatever. 

"13. That whoever forbids marriage teaches a diaboKcal 

"14. That whoever has not the gift of continence ought 
to marrj', 

"15. That the ministers of the word of God ought not 

" *A "^^®,^^o^ Jaeger, pt. i., p. 95, and Perrin.-Gilles adds the foUo\ving words. 
And that man can do things indifferent which God has not forbidden, 
according to the occasion, as he can also refrain from doing them " 

H 2 


to be transfeired. from cue place to another, unless for some 
great good to the church. 

" 16. That it is not incompatible with apostolic com- 
munion that the ministers possess some private property to 
support their families. 

'M7. Touching the sacraments: The Holy Scriptures 
show that Jesus Christ has left us only two sacraments — 
baptism and the eucharist, or the holy supper ; that we 
partake of the latter in order to tcstifj^ that we persevere 
in the holy faith according to our baptismal engagement, 
and to celebrate the remembrance of the sufferings of Jesus 
Christ, who died for our redemption, and has washed us 
from our sins hj his precious blood." 

The sjTiod of Angrogna also adopted a decisive resolu- 
tion for the well-being of the Yaudois church, which had 
been compromised for a number of years by the fear of 
persecutions. It was decreed by common consent, tliat 
they should cease entirely from all the arts of dissimulation 
by vrhich they had hoped to escape the notice of the enemies 
of the faith ; that henceforth they would take no part in 
any of the poj)ish superstitions ; that they would not 
acknowledge as a pastor any priest of the Uomish church, 
and never have recourse to his ministrations in any case, 
or under any circumstances. They likevtdse resolved to 
cease from all concealment in their religious assemblies ; 
that the worship should be carried on openly and publicly, 
in order to give glory to God.^' 

These resolutions met with some opposition in the synod, 
on the ]3art of some barbes, who were either friends of the 
ancient order of things, or timid. Two of them, of foreign 
extraction, Daniel de Valence and Jean de Molines, mth- 
(h'ew without authority from the general assembly, and made 
their complaints to the churches of Bohemia and Moravia. 

Relations equally ancient and close united the Vaudois 
of France and Piedmont to the evano-elical Christians of 
Bohemia and Moravia. The origin of these latter is pro- 
bably to be dated from the end of the twelfth century, the 
times of Pierre Yaldof and his immediate disciples, the 
Poor Men of Lyons. Being driven about by persecution, 
and dispersed in various places, they had become, in the 

* GiUes, p. 30. 

t On Pierre Valdo and his disciples, see ch. vii. of tMs history. 


hands of God, the means of revival and union for churches 
that were still governed by the word of God, in the bosom 
of which they had found a refuge ; and thus, amongst 
others, for the churches of Bohemia and for the ancient 
Vaudois churches in the valleys of the Alps. It was in 
Bohemia that Yaldo himself terminated Ids admirable and 
useful career.-'' He found a Christian church there, which, 
like those of the Sclavonian race, had received Clmstianity 
through the medium of the Greek chiux-h, and Avhieh, like 
all her sisters, abhorred the yoke and errors of Home. 
Attached to the Holy Scriptures, which she read in an ex- 
cellent Sclavonian translation, the language of the country, 
the church of Bohemia had welcomed with a cordial feeling 
of Christian brotherhood, Pien-e Yaldo and his friends, who 
had been persecuted for their fidelity to the word of God ; 
and, o'wing to the well-kno^\-n acti^-ity of the Poor M^en of 
Lyons, and the journeys of the Yaudois barbes, who 
travelled in all directions to evangelize their brethi^en, the 
churches of Bohemia, and, at a later period, those of Moravia, 
entered into strict fellowship A\ith the Yaudois churches of 
France and Piedmont. And, once brought into connexion 
with one another, these two churches, both daughters of 
the primitive church, loved each other as two sisters, and 
never ceased to interchange proofs of their affection. 

In the instance now before us, the chuixhes of Bohemia 
and Moravia testified their cordial affection and esteem for 
the Yaudois church by their general coimsels, given in the 
spirit of the gospel. It is evident by the letter they Avrote, 
and which the two dissatisfied barbes brought back the 
follo^ong year, (1533,) that these churches had been 
but imperfectly informed ; but we may at least infer from 
its contents that they always felt a liTcly interest in the 
spiritual welfare of their Yaudois brethi-en. The latter, 
fi'om regard to their brethix^n of Bohemia and Moravia, held 
a s^mod in the vale of San Martino, the loth of August, 
1533; and after having confirmed the resolutions of the 
synod of the preceding year, decided on communicating 
them, with suitable explanations, in a fraternal letter to the 
churches of Bohemia and Moravia. In consequence of this, 

* Does not Valdo's retiring to Boliemia authorize us to believe that a con- 
nexion had akeady existed between the chui'ch of Bohemia and the \ auacis 
chiu-ch ? 


Jean de Molines and Daniel de Valence left the valleys, 
never to return. 

This strenuous but ineffectual opposition of the two 
barbes, who were, moreover, not natives of the Yaudois 
valleys, rendered the intimate agreement of the spirit of 
the Reformation with that of the Yaudois still more appa- 
rent. The ancient and venerable Yaudois church, still 
faithftd, in its somewhat impaired old age, to the true 
apostolical traditions, came forward gladlj* to hold out the 
right hand of fellowship to her younger sister, the offspring 
of the conscientious study of the Bible. They recognised 
each other as children of the same Father — as servants of 
the same Lord ; they embraced one another, feeling them- 
selves to be one in God's sight; and acinic wledging, with 
transports of delight, that thus blended they were the beloved 
spouse of Jesus Christ. 

Glory be to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 
Amen ! 



The resolutions adopted at the s}Tiod of Angrogna in 
1532, and conffrmed the following year, were soon put in 
practice. Repentance for preceding acts of dissimulation 
stimulated ardent minds to give proofs of the sincerity of 
their love to God, and their attachment to his word. A 
clearer view of their duty strengthened the laith of the 
feeblest : a zeal, that had been languishing for some years, 
revived afresh in all hearts. A Christian life, not entirely 
new, but renovated, circulated faithfully through all the 
branches of the Yaudois churches. Barbes and private 
Christians supported one another, and rendered mutual aid 
in realizing the same desire — that of glorifying their Saviour 
in the midst of idolaters. Their ardent wish was to rej)ro- 
duce in their actions the device engraved to this day on the 
seal of the Yaudois chiu'ches of Piedmont — a light shining 


in darkness. Proofs in coiifii'matioii of this zeal are not 
wanting : we shall adduce them in theii- proper order. 

And first of aU let us mention an external, but veiT 
convincing proof : the renewal of persecution on the part 
of the papists. Religious animosity never pursues the 
lukewarm ; it is never roused by the sight of timid men 
who dissemble, and whose sole aim is to escape observation. 
Resistance and opposition alone provoke it; antagonism 
inflames it. Two years had not elapsed after the sjmod 
of Angrogna, when persecution began ; at first in Provence, 
in the year 1534, at the instigation of the bishops of 
Sisteron, Apt, and CavaiUon, and in the following year in 
Piedmont, by the endeavour's of the archbishop of Turin 
and the inquisitor of the same city. The duke of Savoy, 
Charles iii., yielding to theii' solicitations, referred the 
cruel oface of pui'suing the pretended Yaudois heretics to a 
nobleman in their neighbourhood, the lord of Rocheplatte, 
Pantaleon Bersour, who, from his frequent residence at 
his chateau of Mirandol, (Mirandeul,) or in the city of 
Pinerolo, at the entrance of the valley of Perosa and not 
far from that of Lucema, had greater facilities than any 
other person of knowing the places, the cii'cumstances, and 
the men. 

For the purpose of obtaining all the information possible, 
Bersoiu', fm-nished with ducal letters for the parliament of 
Provence, betook himself to the dioceses of that pro\-incc 
in which persecution had recommenced. Having obtained 
copies of the depositions relative to the accused, as well as 
permission to assist at the subsequent examinations, he 
fiu-nished himself by this means with very precise data 
relative to the late events, and the persons who were the 
most devoted to the interests of evangelical religion in the 
valleys of Piedmont. Por, as we have abeady said, the 
Yaudois of the domains of the duke of Savoy maintained a 
constant connexion with those of Dauphine and Provence, 
and theii' barbes often passed the Alps to edifj- the 
churches of their brethren. It was even found that many 
of the persons who had been apprehended on the charge ot 
heresy were Piecbnontese subjects, refugees in Prance, and 
that one of them who died in prison was from Rocheplatte, 
a lordship peopled with Yaudois, and belonging to the 
ducal commissioner. 


On his return to Piedmont, Bersour laid before the inqui- 
sitors the list of denounced or suspected Yaudois, and 
received from the duke Charles, by letters patent of August 
28, 1535, an order to proceed forthwith to inflict punish- 
ment on the offenders. Having assembled a troop of about 
five himdred picked men, foot and horse soldiers, he made an 
inroad on the valley of Angrogna, penetrating it by way of 
E-ocheplatte, through roads which were well known to him. 
But the enterprise was not more than half successful. The 
disturbed and threatened population had placed scouts, who 
gave information of the approach of the invader soon enough 
to dispute the victory, and to snatch part of the boot}'' from 
him, as well as the prisoners made at the first onset. Strong 
remonstrances having been addressed to him by the countess 
Blanche, widow of the count of Lucerna, and lord of An- 
grogna, who reproached him with not having respected the 
memory of her husband, and with having treated him, 
herself, and their chikh*en witli insult, in assailing her sub- 
jects without her knowledge, Pantaleon Bersour ceased his 
attacks on that side and among the mountains, to fall upon 
the districts of the plain instead, which were inhabited by 
Yaudois. AYith th^se unfortunate persons he filled his cha- 
teau at Mirandol, the prisons and convents of Pinerolo, and 
the inquisition of Turin, where Benoit de Solariis with his 
assessors conducted criminal proceedings against them. A 
great number of them suffered in the flames. The words 
of one of these martyrs of the faith deserve to be preserved. 
Catelan Girardet, who had been arrested at Pevel, in this 
same year, 1535, was led to punishment. When he reached 
the pile, he asked for two stones. Having received them, 
he rubbed them violently one against the other, and said to 
the attentive spectators, who were astonished and curious 
to know his motive for so strange an act, '* You think to 
abolish our churches by j^our persecutions, but you can no 
more do it than I can destroy these stones with my hands, 
or eat them." 

The persecution would have raged much longer, if poli- 
tical circumstances had not at all at once put an end to it. 
Prancis i., king of Prance, laying claim to certain rights in 
Piedmont on behalf of his mother, the queen Louisa, sister 
of duke Charles, and demanding a passage for an army 
intended to recover Milan, had met with a refusal, and pre- 


pared to enter his uncle's domains by main force. The 
fears which so dangerous a situation excited in the duke's 
goveniment, forced him to give an order which huma- 
nity and sound policy would have pre\'iously dictated, — 
namely, to stop the persecution against the Yaudois. In 
fact, it was important for him not to alienate entirely the 
attachment of the population that was settled on the frontier 
of his enemy, and who occupied the usual passes of the 
Alps, and had it in their power either to sun-ender them, 
and thus inflict a severe blow on their imprudent sovereign, 
or to defend them with tried fidelity, and to be a substitute 
in their valleys for a body of troops which he might then 
send elsewhere. Thus Ber soma's persecution was suddenly 

One unfortunate effect for the Yaudois valleys, of the 
ruptm-e otherwise so favoiu'able for their cause, between 
their sovereign and the king of France, was the arrest and 
death of one of their best pastors, Martin Gonin, of An- 
grogna. He had gone to Geneva, at the beginning of 1536, 
to confer there on ecclesiastical affairs with some learned 
theologians, and to make a purchase of books. He was 
endowed with superior talents and some rare qualities, and 
though only thii^ty-six, had abeady ti'avelled and laboiuTd 
much for the churches, in Piecbnont and elsewhere. But 
on his return, he was arrested in Dauphiiie ; being a Pied- 
montese, he was taken for a spy, sent to observe the pre- 
parations for war in France. The parliament of Grenoble 
having pronounced him innocent, he was on the point of 
being released ; but the jailer, on searching him, found some 
papers relative to religion : he was thereupon again impii- 
soned and brought to trial for this latter fact. When ex- 
amined on his belief, he made a frank and um^eserved con- 
fession of it, and he resisted, at the same time, all importu- 
nities and solicitations to induce him to change his religion, 
and was condemned to be cbrowned in the Isere. This 
barbarous sentence was executed on the night of April 26, 
1536. It was apprehended, that if it had taken place in the 
day-time, the gentleness and pious discourse of the martp- 
would have moved and shaken the resolution of the specta- 
tors. The death of tHs faithful servant of God was deeply 
regretted in the valleys, where he was justly appreciated, 
and where the want of pastors began to be felt. 

H 3 


The commitments to prison, and the punishments inflicted 
for two years on the Yaudois of France and Piedmont, are 
not the only proofs that we have of the increase of Christian 
life among them in consequence of their intercourse with the 
reformers. They gave another striking proof of it, during 
the very time of their persecution, in defraying the cost of 
the first edition of the French Bible. They contributed for 
this object fifteen hundred gold crowns, — a considerable sum 
at that time, and especially for a small population of country 
people and herdsmen. It was at the synod of Angrogna, 
in 1532, in the presence of Farel and Saunier, deputies 
from the Swiss churches, that in consequence of the scarcity 
of manuscripts of the sacred books, and the increasing diffi- 
culty of copying them, the resolution was passed for trans- 
lating into French and printing the sacred Scriptures, both 
of the Old and 'New Testament. P. Robert Olivetan, a 
relation of the celebrated Calvin, the reformer of Geneva, 
was commissioned to undertake this work. This Bible was 
printed in folio, and in black letter, at l^eufchatel in Switzer- 
land, in the year 1535, by Pierre de Wingle, commonly 
called Piccard. The Yaudois spirit, that attachment to 
the word of God which in former ages was manifested by 
the pains taken by individuals to commit whole books to 
memory, now reappeared in every heart, renewing its youth, 
and eager to avail itself of the recent invention of the press, 
to facilitate, for all who knew how to read, the possession, 
at a trifling expense, of a copy of the Holy Scriptures."^' 

Another proof of the increase of the Christian life among 
the Yaudois, is, on the one hand, the zeal displayed in 
preaching pure doctrine, and on the other, the eagerness of 
the people in coming to hear it. It would be difficult to 
decide which showed the most courage and self-denial — the 
preachers who sought to do good to souls, or the hearers, 
hungering for the bread of life, flocking to their faithfal 
shepherds, mthout dread of committing themselves, often 
even at the peril of their lives. The country people came in 
crowds to the appointed places of meeting. By degrees the 
citizens and inhabitants of the j)lain resorted thither. Even 
the lords protected the evangelical faith, and openly de- 
clared themselves in its favour. In a short time the barbes 

* Perrin, Hist, des Vaudois, p. 161— Gilles, ch. vii. pp. 43, 44— Ruchat, Re- 
formation, etc., t. iii., pp. 176—403. 


A\'orc not sufficiently mimerous for their work and the new 
cares which claimed their attention. Those among them 
whose office it was to instruct and train candidates for tlic 
sacred ministry, '^' were obliged to cease from this employ- 
ment, in order to give themselves entirely to preaching and 
the care of souls. They soon found it necessary to have 
recourse to foreign academies belonging to the reformed — 
that of Geneva, for example — either to send thither young 
Taudois who had devoted themselves to the evangelical 
ministry, or to obtain additional pastors from thence, who 
were now required on account of the increasing nimiber 
of the congregations and hearers of the truth. 

From this period may be dated the use of the French 
language in the worship of the Yaudois valleys of Piedmont. 
Hitherto it had been carried on in the common language of 
the country, that is, in the Romance language, in which all 
their ancient writings were composed. Henceforth the 
French was generally employed,! ^^^^ ^^® editions of the 
Bible printed at the expense of the Yaudois and circulated 
in their houses were in this language, and the body of 
pastors likewise spoke it, owing either to their origin, or 
the course of their studies. | 

The religious movement which had commenced at the 
synod of Angrogna, in 1532, extended and strengthened 
itself still more when the political differences between Pied- 
mont and France supervened, and particularly when the 
latter power invaded and occupied the territory of the 
former. The attention of the govemment being absorbed 
by concerns which seemed more pressing, it neglected for 
years to watch or to check the proceedings of the Yaudois ; 
and it was not roused till the papists, surprised, confounded, 
and in-itated by the success of the once oppressed church, 
raised the ciy of alarm. The priests who had been pre- 
viously settled in the valleys, § having lost all hope of ever 
seeing the people brought under Eomish domination, and 
judging that for the future no fuiiher revenue would be 
obtained from them, voluntarily withdrew in despair ; and 
with them went the mass. That these happy results took 

* This fact e\idently implies the existence of that school of thebarbes in the 
Pi'a-di-Torre, which we have before mentioned, 
t In civil affairs the Italian langiiasre was used. 
X GOles, chs. vii., viii. — Perrin, p. 161. 
§ It is still a question in what part of the valleys they were established. 


place is not denied by Eoman Catholic writers ; so far from 
it, they complain of them bitterly. This is done by father 
Belvedere, in his report, addressed in 1636, to the Congrega- 
tion for the propagation of the feith, in which he makes many 
mistakes, and, amongst others, has this absurdity, — that the 
reformer Parol had been appointed governor of the valleys 
by a count of Wurtemberg, in the name of the king of 
France, and had persecuted the papists. But, however 
singular the explanations he gives of the facts that he 
reports may be, the latter fully confirm all that we have 
stated. Among other things, he says expressly: ''The 
heresy had reached such a height in the valley (of Lucerna), 
that from all parts of Piedmont, subject to the king, people 
came to hear the preachers, contrary to the king's wish, 
who either was ignorant of it, or pretended to be so."-^ 

But, while the Yaudois of Piedmont enjoyed the respite 
which political commotions had obtained for them in their 
religious concerns, and made use of it to consolidate and 
extend their church, they received most melancholy in- 
telligence respecting their brethren the Yaudois of Pro- 
vence, of which we shall now proceed to give an account. 
(See what has been already said in ch. xv.) 

The reader will recollect, no doubt, those flourishing 
Yaudois churches, founded in Provence, at the end of the 
thirteenth century, in the valleys that border on the Dur- 
ance, to the east of Cavaillon. Here were situated the 
towns and ATiUages of Cabrieres, Merindol, Lormarin, Cade- 
net, Gordes, and many others besides, as celebrated for their 
long prosperity and high reputation, as for the terrible 
persecution which put an end to their existence. 

Abeady, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, efforts 
had been made to prejudice king Louis xii. against them. 
They had been represented to him as infamous people, who, 
having separated from the church of Rome, lived in the 
commission of all kinds of abominations. But the king, 
having sent to these places two honourable men, in whom 
he placed confidence, namely, his confessor Parvi, and Adam 
Pumee, master of requests, who made a favourable report 
of the manners and piety of the people, gave orders that 
they should be left undisturbed. f 

* Gilles, c. \ni., p. 45— Perrin, p. 161. 
t La Mothe-Langou, t. iii., p. 425. 


In the year 1534, imder Francis i., the searohin'^s, 
punishments, and imprisonments on religious accounts were 
begun anew. The parliament of Aix, at the instigation 
of the bishops of Sisteron, Apt, and Cavaillon, had proceeded 
with rigour against the Yaudois of these countries, as we 
have mentioned a few pages before. The parliament 
allowed itself to be so deceiyed and blinded by intrigue, 
calunmy, and fanaticism, that in 1540 it condemned tlie 
Yaudois to general destruction, to the loss of life and pro- 
perty, and their country to be made a desert. The benevo- 
lent intervention of Guillaume du Bellay, lord of Langey, 
and governor of Piedmont, since it had been occupied by 
the French, retarded the execution of the ordinance. He 
had the courage to represent to the king the injustice of 
this barbarous decree. He showed that it would affect a 
worthy population, who were distinguished among other 
virtues for temperance, chastity, patience, fidelity to their 
prince, industiy, hospitality, and a genuine piety devoid of 
superstition. Enlightened by the judgment of this honoiu'- 
able lord, Francis i. refused to confirm this sentence. But 
as irritating calimmies were spread without ceasing against 
the unfortunate Yaudois, and false rumours designedly 
circulated, till they reached the ears of the king, accusing 
this peaceable people of plots against the government, of 
clandestine armaments, and even of levpng troops with the 
intention of getting into Marseilles, it might be anticipated 
that the fatal blow would soon be struck. The drawn sword 
and lighted torch which Romish hatred waved in menace 
over the heads of its victims only waited the signal for 
general havoc. At last it was given. ^' 

Francis i., at the instigation of one of the princes of the 
Eomish chuiT-h, a pretended successor of the apostles, the 
odious cardinal de Tournon, decreed the punishment of the 
Yaudois of Provence. On the fii'st news of this alarming- 
project, the evangelical cantons of Switzerland vainly inter- 
ceded in the most urgent manner Avith the king ; all the)' 
obtained was a dry answer not to meddle with the afi'airs of 
his government, any more than he would trouble himself 
about theii's. Calvin, the illustrious reformer of Geneva, 
would have gone and thrown himself at the feet of the 
French monarch, but had been taken ill, and Farel was too 

* Leger, pt. ii., p. 330.— Gilles, p. 47. 


niuch. oppressed by the infirmities of age to undertake the 
journey. Yiret, one of the reformers of the Pays de Yaud, 
set out to request favour for his co-religionists, bearing with 
him letters of recommendation, not only from the reformed 
states of Switzerland, but also from the Protestant states of 
the league of Smalkald. But all these efforts at mediation 
were useless.-'' 

The order for destroying the heretics of ProTence having 
been once issued, no time was lost in putting it into execu- 
tion. A hard-hearted, avaricious man, irritated, moreover, 
it is said, because a lady who possessed the seignorial right of 
many of the Vaudois villages had refused him her hand — 
John Moinier, baron d'Oppede, first president of the parlia- 
ment of Provence, and royal lieutenant of the province, in 
the absence of count de Grignan, marched against the 
innocent people whom he had disgracefully calumniated. 
At the head of a troop of the militia of Provence, besides 
two thousand regular soldiers, and accompanied by commis- 
sioners, nominally his colleagues, but in reality quite under 
his influence, he attacked his devoted victims in April, 1 545. 
These poor people, whom he had represented to the king 
as armed rebels, fiu-nished with all the munitions of war, 
and entrenched in places difficult of access, never dreamt of 
defending themselves ; they saw no safety but in flight. 

A modern author gives the following account of this 
atrocious transaction : — " The shrill outcries," he writes, 
" the blasts of the savage horns and other signals in use at 
this period, to announce the approach of a hostile force, 
warned the Vaudois in the different villages and hamlets, of 
the coming of the terrible Oppede. Every one abandoned 
his home, leaving his little fortune in it : each wished to 
save his aged father, his wife, his children, and nothing 
more. They hastened to the mountains or the neighbour- 
ing rocks, or the bottom of precipices, without sparing a 
thought on what they had left, or rather hoj^ing that the 
love of plunder would detain their persecutors, and turn them 
aside from the pursuit. 

' ' During this time, the Catholic army set fire to the houses, 
filled up the wells and fountains, tore up the vines, cut down 
the trees, left not one stone on another, sparing neither 
gardens, nor hospitals, nor bridges, in a word, nothing that 

* Paichat,*t. v., p. 253. 


existed in this imfortimate coimtiy. The Vaudois, dying 
with hunger and sorrow, exhausted with fatigue and want, 
continued their uncertain march. In a short time, the 
women, chikben, and old men, overcome by fatigue, were 
forced to stop. They were abandoned in despair y^ and yet 
some hope was indulged that all Chi'istian chanty would not 
be extinguished in the heart- of these devout assassins, that 
they would not dare to butcher weakness, innocence, and 
decrepitude. A Piedmontese soldier unexpectedly foimd 
this troop of wretched fugitives in a kind of plain, and fi^om 
the mountain above rolled down stones to warn them of the 
approach of the band of murderers commanded by the baron 
de la Garde. But no strength was left to the remains of this 
Yaudois troop, — they stirred not, but awaited their fate with 
resignation. The soldiery, guided by the monkish inquisi- 
tors,! rushed upon the women, whom they treated with such 
licentious indignity that the greater number died on the 
spot, without a wish to survive their honour; the rest 
perished of sufferirig and hunger, after having been stripped 
even of their last garment. 

The expedition commenced on the 14th of April, with 
the sacking of Cadenet. On the 16th, they set fire to the 
villages of Pepin, La-Mothe, and Saint Martin, belonging 
to the countess of Ceudal (the same who had refused her 
hand to Oppede.) There the poor labourers were slain 
without making resistance ; . as to the females, the young 
were violated, and the pregnant women, with the children, 
were massacred. Prom some they cut off their breasts; 
the elder children and mere babes might be seen dying of 
hunger on the corpses of their mothers, for the baron 
d' Oppede had interdicted all jDersons (under paia of being 
hung), from furnishing provisions to any one of this 
accursed race. The population of these places were swept 
entirely away, either by the flames or the sword. Only 
those were saved alive who were destined to work in the 

On the 1 7th of April, Oppede, at the head of a body of 

* Gilles says, p. 49, that they were about five hundred. 

t Gilles, m his histoiy, mentions this fact as ha\ang occiured after the 
destruction of the villages, which is very probable. To be just, we ought to 
add that he does not relate these indignities ; that he says on the contrary, 
that one of their leaders prevented them at this time from coramitting those 
abominable acts which they perpeti'ated elsewhere. 


Piedmontese, who had been formed into regiments at the 
expense of France, advanced towards the villages of Lorma- 
rin, Yille-Laure, and Trezemines, which were burned by his 
orders on the following day ; while the wretches who came 
from Aries on this sacrilegious crusade set fire to Genson 
and Laroque, on the other side of the Durance. Oppede, 
whose approach justly inspired terror, found in Merindol 
only one young man, Maurisi Blanc, a half-witted lad, who 
surrendered to a soldier on conditions of being allowed to 
ransom himself for two crowns. Oppede, apjoarently 
assenting to these terms, paid the two crowns, and claiming 
Blanc as his own, caused him to be tied to a mulberry tree, 
and shot. 

The two hundred houses which formed the village of 
Merindol were entirely razed, after having been set on fire 
on the 18th. Cabrieres still remained: it was a large 
fortified town, and situated three leagues from Cavaillon. 
The inhabitants had closed the gates : cannon were brought 
to force them open on the 19tli. On the first discharge of 
artillery, those who were in the place cried out to the 
besiegers that they made a show of resistance not from a 
spirit of disobedience to the king's orders, but only to 
protect themselves from the first attack of a furious soldiery, 
and that they would voluntarily surrender themselves, pro- 
vided their lives were guaranteed, and that they might be 
allowed free egress to go to a foreign laud, to pray according 
to their own "vdews. The lord of Cabrieres accompanied 
the assailants. He made terms for his vassals, and was 
promised tliat their cause should be carried before the 
parliament, and that no violence should precede the judicial 
decision. The terms of capitulation being concluded, 
Cabrieres surrendered. Oj)pede, no longer concealing the 
black villany of his heart, caused all the men to be 
seized, to the number of sixty. They were led to an 
adjacent meadow, and by his orders cut in pieces. '^ Cut 
in pieces," we say, — for they cut ofi^ their heads and limbs, 
uttering all the while the most horrible blasj)hemies and 
shouts of victory. The females of all ages, with child or 
not, were shut up in a barn, which was then set on fiiT. 
One soldier, touched with pity, (and who therefore must 
have been an indiff'erent Catholic,) made an opening in the 
wall, that they might save themselves ; but his comrades 

THA::ariLLiTY of the vaudois of piedmont. 161 

pushed them back into the flames with their pikes and 
halberds. Many Vaudois were found alive in caves, where 
they had concealed themselves. They were brought out 
into the great hall of the chateau, and massacred in the 
presence of the baron d'Oppede. Eight hundred persons 
of both sexes had sought an asylum in the church ; the 
dissolute rabble of Avignon, who had run together to take 
part ill the pillage and murder, received the commission to 
massacre them all without mercy. 

Similar enoiTuities were committed in La Coste, and m 
all other parts of the country inhabited by the Yaudois. 
It is too painful to continue the recital. One fact, however, 
may be mentioned. Some who were concealed in retirt^d 
places implored Oppede to be content with taking their 
property, and to allow them to retire to Geneva. His 
answer was, '' I will send you to dwell in hell with devils, 
you, yom- wives, and your children ; so that no memorial of 
vou shaU be left." 

Twenty-two Yaudois ^-illages were burned ; nearly five 
thousand persons lost their lives ; seven hundred men were 
sent to the galleys. The name of Yaudois disappeared 
from Provence. 

A general cry of indignation was raised throughout 
France ; but the cardinal de Tonmon became the apologist 
of the assassins to the king. Yet it is said that Francis' 
conscience was oppressed and tonnented by the deed, and 
that on his death-bed, two years after, he expressly enjomed 
his son, Henry n., to chastise its perpetrators. Most of 
them, however, escaped punishment.^' 

While the Yaudois of Provence experienced the utmost 
severity of a government enslaved to the priests of Rome, 
and violently prejudiced against evangelical^ truth, the 
Yaudois of Piedmont enjoyed a far better position. 

The authority of Francis i. in Piedmont being an usurpa- 
tion, this prince, who persecuted the reformed in his own 
hereditary- kingdom to the utmost, was obliged to x>roceecl 
with more caution against the pretended heretics of his 
new domains, lest his violence should serve as a pretext for 
rebellions, and consequently lead to complicated embarrass- 
ments. :N'ot but that, at intervals, harsh measures had 

* La Mothe Langon, t. ii., pp. 429-412.- GiUes, ch. vii., p. 47.-Rucliat, t. 
v., p. 253. 


been adopted, and some had even suffered death..'^' But 
compared with what took place elsewhere, the external 
position of the Vaudois church in Piedmont was favourable. 
As to its interior life it was most satisfactory, and left 
nothing- to be desired, as we said at the beginning of this 
chapter. During the first twenty years of the French 
occupancy, from 1536, the Yaudois, or, which is the same 
thing, the Christian spirit, was so spread or manifested, not 
only throughout all the extent of the valleys, but tlirough 
all Piedmont, that there were few towns or villages of any 
importance where some of their brethren or friends were 
not to be found, and among them even lords and persons 
of distinction. 

The concourse of hearers who flocked fi-om all the 
hamlets of the valleys and different places in lower Pied- 
mont round their pastor for instruction and edification, 
became go great, that it was impossible to avoid something 
like display in the assemblies of the faithful. The meetings 
were become entirely public, conformably to the decision of 
the synod of Angrogna in 1532, when they took the last step 
in this act of fidelity by constructing temples. Before that 
time they had held their meetings either at the houses of 
the barbes, or of private individuals, or in the open air. It 
was at Angrogna, that bulwark of the Yaudois church, that 
the first temple was built in the place called San Lorenzo. 
Soon after another was erected in the same commune, 
but higher up in the vallej^, at a place called Le Serre, 
about half an hour's walk from the former. In the same 
year (1555) several other communes of the vale of 
Lucerna put their hand to the work for the same purpose ; 
and in 1556, several temples were raised in the valley of 
San Martino for the Yaudois, or evangelical worship. 

While many hearts rejoiced, in 1555, and rendered lively 
thanks to God for the building of these edifices, many 
were also grieved, and many tears were shed, in the same 
year, at the news of the martp'dom of two of their dear 
pastors.f Being natives of France and refugees at Geneva, 
they had responded to an appeal from the valleys, and 

* It is alleged that Francis i. replied to the humble appeals of these pre- 
tended heretics, that he would not bm-n them in France to support them iu 
the Alps. L^ger, t. ii. , p. 28. 

t They were Jean Vernou, of Poitiers, and Antoine Labori, of Quercy. 

daxgkPl ixcfreed by tavo pastors. 163 

had come there to exercise their ministrs', and subse- 
quently undertook a joiuncy to Geneva. On their return 
from this city to their faithful flocks, in company with 
three ^ French Protestants, they were arrested at the Col 
de Tamiers, in Savoy, and suffered martyrdom at Chambery, 
towards the end of Apiil, 1555, after having avowed theii- 
fiiith and obtained a glorious victor}^ over all temptations. 
Some weeks before, the parliament of Turin had burned in 
the castle yard, in this last-mentioned city, the bookseller 
Barthelemi Hector, of Poitiers, whom some persons of the 
higher ranks in the Yaudois valley of San Martino had 
deKvered to the inquisition on the charge of having come 
to sell Genevese books in the valley. His sincere answers 
and courageous confession of faith affected the hearts even 
of some of his judges. But the cold and selfish considera- 
tions of the world dictated the sentence of death. The 
multitude who surrounded his funeral jnle testified their 
lively interest by many tears ; and from their midst might 
be heard miumurs and invectives not a few, against the 
monks and inquisitors. 

Two other ministers also, about the same time, were 
exposed to imminent danger in Savoy. The barbe Gilles, 
of the Gilles family, on his return fi^om the colonies of the 
kingdom of iSTaples, having passed through Yenice, and 
cleared the frontiers of Germany, was bringing Etienne 
^oel, a Frenchman, from Lausanne to the valleys. One 
day they fell in with a company of officers of justice at an 
inn. Being compelled, by the artfid ci\ilities of the chief 
of the archers, to sup with him, they had great difficulty 
not to commit themselves in answering his wily questions 
about their occupations and the object of their journey. 
Perceiving, on rising from table, that they had not laid 
asleep all the suspicions of their examiner, and that he 
seemed hardly willing to postpone fiu-ther interrogatories to 
the next day, they proposed retiring to rest, with the view 
of proceeding on theii' route vrithout delay. Their com- 
passionate host being well rewarded, gave them some 
addresses, and having let them out privately, they gained 
the fields, the woods, and the mountains, and ^ happily 
reached the valleys, praising God for so great a deliverance. 

* Guiraud Tauran, of Cahors, Jean Frigulet, of Nismes, doctor of laws, and 
Bertrand Bataille, a student of Gascony. 


jSToel Ts^as nouiinatcd pastor of Angrogna, and Gillcs of 

At this period, several pastors, most of tliem French, but 
some Italians, arrived in the valleys. One of the former, 
Humbert Artus, a little after his installation at Bobbio, was 
one day surrounded b}" the magistrate, monks, and other 
papists of the place, eager to enter into a debate with him, 
and conducting themselves very tumnltuously. But when 
he required that the discussion should be in due form and 
order, and offered to mamtain it in Latin, Greek, or 
Hebrew, whichever they chose, and on any subject they 
pleased, these eager gainsayers withdrew in confusion, and 
left him in peace. 

The year 1556, the twentieth of the Erench domination 
in Piedmont, was. marked by an attempt to bring the mass 
of the Yaudois within the j)ale of the Romish church, by 
the joint influence of persuasion and threats. The parlia- 
ment of Turin, besides being promjDted by the pope's 
agents, and the orders of Henry ii., king of Prance, had 
lately heard of the erection of Yaudois temples in various 
parts of the valleys. Indignant at this audacious pro- 
ceeding, they devolved the business of repressing heresy on 
two of their members, the president de Saint Julien and 
the councillor de Ecclesia (della Cliiesa), who set out on 
their mission in March, with a numerous retinue. In the 
valley of Pcrosa, where at that time there was no pastor, 
and everybody fled at their approach, they found not a 
single person to converse with. Having reached the 
valley of San Martino, they there published an edict 
menacing those who should resist, but conciliating and 
flattering those who should hasten to make their sub- 
mission. Ha^dng met with no success, they descended to 
Pinerolo, where they caused a number of accused persons 
to be brought before them, several of whom they condemned 
to various punishments. It was on this occasion that ii 
labourer whom they asked why he had brought his child 
for baptism to the temple at Angrogna, replied, — because 
baptism was there administered according to the institution 
of Jesus Christ. This same man being ordered to have 
his child re-baptized immediately, and having obtained 
permission to pray before he gave his answer, embarrassed 
de St. Julien extremely, when he said to him after praying, 



'' C- pleased first to give me a ^vi'iting, signed with your 
own hand, by which you absolve me from the sin I may 
commit in re-baptizing my child, and take upon yourself 
the punishment I may incur before God." The president, 
astonished at this language, contented himself with saying 
coldly "I have my o^ii sins to answer lor, ^^ithout 
charging myself with yours. Take yourself out of my 
sight." Departing immediately, the poor man was not 
troubled again about the matter.^* 

Wi^hin«- to iDroduce a deep impression on the valley 
of Lucerna, the commissaries made their appearance at 
in-rogna, accompanied by a great number of lords priests, 
and monks, besides theh' ordinary attendants. i he pre- 
sident, after visiting the two temples, ordered one ot the 
monks to preach. The pastors and people were obhged to 
listen to a discourse which urged them to become obedient 
to Eome ; and when they requested that a pastor might 
speak in reply, they were met by a refusal. The president 
then addressed the assembly in the names of the king, the 
marshal de Brissac, his lieutenant in Piedmont, and the 
parUament of Turin ; he summoned them to turn papists 
and to deliver up their pastors, threatening them m case 
of refusal, with similar ruin to that which had destroyed 
their brethren in Provence.f ... , 

To all this, the people, worthy of theii^ pious ancestors, 
replied with the most admirable simplicity and hdeiity 
that they were resolved to live agreeably to the word ol 
(lod, in obedience to all their superiors, m aU things pos- 
sible, so that God were not wronged; that f to their 
vcli-ion, if it could be proved by the word of God that 
they were in error, they were ready to acknowledge it. 
The president, on the foUowing days, went through the 
Yaudois communes in the valley of Lucerna. Things took 
c^xactly the same coiu^se there as in Angrogna. I^either 
threats nor caresses could lead astray the descendants ol 
so long a series of pious servants of God. 

This general appeal having been unsuccessful, h>t. Julien 

* Le^er, pt. ii., p. 28. whom we have foUowed in this 

t Seethe suinmaiy of the echct m Gmes whom we na ^^,,,^p ^ ,,. ^^e 

fact, p. 58. In the foUowmg P^" wf coXIfon Sth, conformable in 
Vaudois churches, and Partictilarly a W cordession oi^ , 
other respects to what we know ol the Vaudois. teee aiso i. ^ , i 
106, 107. 


had recourse to special measures with iudi^dduals. lie 
seut for the principal persons separately, flattered them, 
made them tempting offers, or tried to terrify them by 
threats ; hut all in vain. He addressed himself a second 
and a tliird time to the communes, but they remained 
immovable. Their answers were always dignified, firm, 
and respectful. Their actions evinced true Clnistian 
courage. Alwa3's and universally they refused to give up 
their ministers and schoolmasters. .'^'' 

Little satisfied with the result of his efforts, the president 
St. Julien made his way back to Turin with his colleague, 
della Chiesa. Their report rendered no assistance to the 
deliberations of the parliament, who, not knoAving what to 
do, sent the above-named commissioners to France, to lay 
the answers of the Vaudois before the king and his council, 
and to give all requisite explanations by v/ord of mouth. 
As the royal mil was not known by the parliament till 
after the lapse of a year, the churches of the valleys enjoyed 
during that term the delightful fruits of peace, contrary to 
the desires and attempts of their adversaries. 

An enemy more dangerous to their souls than persecution 
itself sought to instil a subtle and mortal poison into the 
consciences of the Vaudois believers and the Protestants 
scattered through Turin and the other towns or villages of 
Piedmont. This Avas Dominic Baronius, of Plorence, a 
popish preacher. This man, for a long time not understood, 
condemned in his book on the Pomau Constitutions, and in 
other works, the principal errors of his church, and approved, 
almost without exception, of the truths proclaimed by the 
Vaudois and reformed churches. But notwithstanding this, 
he endeavoured to persuade persons that, according to times 
and places, it was allowable to conceal one's belief by taking 
a part in contrary practices, even, for example, to go to 
mass, provided that it was disapproved of entirely, and 
sound doctrine held. Such principles might have stifled 
the germ of spiritual life in many hearts too much inclined 
to worldly prudence, if the prayers and representations of 
the pastors of the valleys, as likewise the letters of the 
ministers of Geneva, and especially a book written by one 
of them, the Italian Celse Martinengo, had not refuted such 

* Gilles, p. 58.— L%er, pt. ii., pp. 106, 107. 


Avrctclied doctrines, and combated such lax and degrading 

The glorious death of t\ro raartjTS of the Christian faith 
proclaimed still more loudly the duty of confessing one's 
belief in the face of persecutors. One of these faithful 
witnesses of the tmth was Xicolas Sartoire, of Quiers, in 
Piedmont, a young man at that age when life appears most 
attractive, and a student educated at the expense of tht^ 
republic of Berne, who came to pass a few weeks in his 
native country, by way of relaxation li'om his studies. He; 
had scarcely stepped across the frontier when he was 
arrested, and instead of the pleasm-e he anticipated he had 
to prepare to ascend a burning pile. They sought to make 
him deny his faith, and laid snares for his youth : but he 
preferred death and the peace of God's chosen to a life 
gained by unfaithfulness. In spite of urgent appeals fi-om 
Berne to obtain his release, he was burned at Aosta, on the 

4th of Mav, 1557. 

The second martyr was fifty years old. His character 
had been matured by reflection, by observation of human 
actions, and the study of the word of God ; his name was 
Geofroi Yaraille. He was a native of Busca, in Piedmont, 
and by birth a papist. His father had even been distin- 
guished among the leaders of the army that laid waste the 
valleys in 1488. The only son of a persecutor, Geofroi 
became a monk, and was sent as a popish preacher to 
travel through Italy, and in this capacity became the com- 
panion of Ochino, of Sienna, the foimder of the order of the 
Capuchins. At this period, while preaching to others, he had 
already detected many enters in the Pomish religion. He 
was attached to the pope's legate in France, was honoured, 
and enioyed several benefices, and resided for a long time 
at the court of the king, till the year 1556, when unable 
any longer to hide from himself the eiTors of the Koman 
system, and unmlhng to risk his salvation, he quitted the 
legate and retired to Geneva. Here he continued to gam in- 
struction in the truth and in the proper method of teaching 
it till he received ordination by imposition of hands for the 
evangeUcal ministry, in 1557. At this time, the evangehcal 
chui'ch of San Giovanni, in the valley of Luceraa, was m 
want of a pastor. Yaraille was sent there, and preached for 
some months with great success. Having been imited to 


Busca, his native place, in the enAdrons of wliich there were 
a few believers, he quitted the valleys for a few days, as he 
intended, but never saw them again, for he was arrested on 
his return, on the information of the monks, who were on 
the watch for him. While a prisoner on Ms parole at 
Barge, he might have escaped if he had thought of nothing 
but his life. He even prevented the Yaudois of Bibbiana, 
who were his parishioners, from coming to rescue him, 
telling them to leave the matter with God. At Turin, the 
archbishop, the president St. Julien, and other personages of 
rank who had kno"\^m him, made use of every expedient to 
induce him to return to the Boman church. It is needless 
to say that they lost their time. Abandoning all hope of 
gaining him by promises, his judges condemned him to de- 
gradation and the flames ; and this sentence was carried 
into effect at Turin, March 29, 1558. His firm and joyful 
countenance, as he went to death, the grave and pious 
address he made at the place of execution, astonished his 
adversaries as much as the}^ animated and edified the minds 
of those who were disposed to listen to the truth. He was 
first strangled, then burned. 

A good old man, who had already suffered much for the gos- 
pel, was forced to assist at the punishment of Geofroi Yaraille; 
after Ivhich he was scourged and marked mth a hot iron. 

About the same time, another minister of the valley of 
Lucerna, returning to Geneva, was arrested at Susa, and 
brought to Turin. But on the day fixed for his martyr- 
dom, one of the executioners feigned illness; the other, 
after ha^dng inflicted punishment on some malefactors, and 
fearing he should be forced to execute the minister, ab- 
sconded ; the German executioner refused to do it, so that 
the execution was put off; and a fortunate circumstance 
having occurred, the pastor succeeded in making his escape 
and returned to his friends. 

In the month of March, 1557, however, the commis- 
sioners St. Julien and Chiesa arrived from France, and came 
back to Pinerolo, with fresh directions to continue and finish, 
if possible, the work they had undertaken in the preceding 
year; namely, the intimidation and the forced return^ of 

* AVe have seen that the word " return," which the CathoUcs are fond of 
nsing, is quite inapphcable. The Vaudois must have left that chiu'ch before 
they could be said to retiu-n to it; but this was not the case. 


the Taudois churches within the pale of the lioman church. 
At Pinerolo, they cited into their presence the notables of 
the valleys, communicated to them the king's order to sub- 
mit to the papal yoke, and gave them only three days to 
make their decision. Ha^ gained nothing by this step, 
they went from place to place, assembling everywhere a 
general council of the heads of families, and communicated 
to them, with many threats, the express will of the king. 
But everywhere they received the same answer ; a protesta- 
tion of submission to the sovereign in temporal affairs, and 
a declaration of firm and inviolable fidelity to God, accord- 
ing to the teachings of his word, in matters of religion. 

In the hope of accomplishing their purpose by rigorous 
measures against the most considerable persons in the val- 
leys, they ordered the pastors, schoolmasters, and notables 
of the communes (to the number of forty-three for the val- 
ley of Lucema,"^*) to appear before them at Turin, on the 29th 
of !March, 1557, under pain of terrible punishments if they 
failed. The -s-ictims thus marked out, not venturing to go 
near a city which had been fatal to so many of the faithful 
Yaudois, and having sent only an epistle in their stead, an 
order was issued by the parliament to seize the pastors and 
schoolmasters of the three valleys, and biing them prisoners 
to Turin ; threatening the syndics with the loss of their 
property and lives if they did not deliver them up. 

The danger, certainly, was great; but God, whose mercies 
are infinite and his providence admii^able, watched over his 
servants. The king of France had too many afi'airs on hand 
to dream of occupying the valleys with a military force, 

* It may be interesting to the descendants of many of these notables to find 
here the names of their ancestors who were marked as victims on account of 
their evangehcal beUef : 

From Angi-ogna — Noel, minister ; Jean Dubroc, schoolmaster, and his assist- 
ant Paul Ghiot; Laurent Rivoire, Jean Stringj^, Guillaimie Malan, Antoine 
Odin, Laurent Viton alias Peron, Antoine Fraschia, George Monastier, Isaac 
Musset, Francois Tussiane, Colet Buflfa, George Stale, Pierre Berlin. 

From San Giovanni— Simon Appia, Antoine Daniel, Barthelemi and Jafre 
Danna, Jean Malanot, Guillaume Thurin, Antoine Simond, Francois Daniel, 
and Guillaume Gu-ardet. 

From Rora— Artuset Durand, Etienne Durand, Jacques Morgha, Jacques 
Mirot, Jacques Mairrauda, Louis ilirot. 

Fi'om Bobbio— M. Himabert Artus, minister; Jean Bodet, Antoine Bodet, 
Jacques Bonjour, and Jacoljin Rua. 

From Villai'o— Gille or Juhano Dughet, preacher ; Peiron Moussa.Guillamne 
Pelenc, Jacques Alaisan, Claude Rambaud, Baithelemi Viton, Jacques and 
Ciabert Dalmas. 

ilany of these names are preser\-ed in families to the present day ; some are 
mdely spread. 



and of persecuting mth an armed band. The Protestant 
cantons of Switzerland, moreover, at the solicitation of 
Farel and Theodore Beza, interfered hj wi^iting to the par- 
liament of Turin and the marshal de Brissac, and by an em- 
bassy to the king, and thus obtained a suspension of the 
decree against the Yaudois. The princes of Germany 
adopted similar measures. Our friends of the valleys, 
favoured by these circumstances, enjoyed some respite 
diuing the latter part of the ^French domination in Pied- 
mont, that is to say, till 1559.* 



After having been subject to Prance for three-and- twenty 
years, Piedmont was restored to its legitimate sovereign on 
the 3rd of April, 1559, by the treaty of Chateau Cambresis, 
with the exception of Turin, and three strong cities in the 
neighboiu'hood, with their territory. Thus the Vaudois 
valleys were once more under the dominion of the house of 
Savoy. The reigning duke, Emmanuel Philibert, who, in 
1553, succeeded his father Charles iii., (author of the per- 
secution of Bersour,) was a prince justly esteemed, and as 
much distinguished by his valour as by superior talents 
and the wisdom of his administration. He had just married 
Margaret, sister of the king of Prance. This princess, 
instructed in the excellence of evangelical principles by her 
illustrious relations, Margaret, queen ofXavarre, andHenee 
of Prance, daughter of Louis xii., was well disposed towards 
.the reformed. The Yaudois might, therefore, hope for 
tranquil times and the enjo^^ment of the worship of their 

But in making the terms of peace, the contracting parties 
entered into reciprocal engagements to combat the reforma- 
tion and to destroy heresy. The reign of Emmanuel Phili- 
bert, consequently, could not be established, without lead- 

* Gilles, p. 70. — We have generally followed this author in the narrative 
contained in this chapter. For the mediation on behalf of the Vaudois, see 
Ruchat, t, vi., pp. 195, 196. 


ing to religious persecution. Deplorable and disgraceful 
necessity, if it were so ! It is also certain, and thelfact has 
been established in the preceding chapter, that the Yaudois 
doctrine was no other than that of the reformation ; that it 
gradually spread through Piedmont, during the French 
domination, and that in the valleys especially, as at its 
beginning, the so-called heretical chui^ch had very much 
increased, and had substituted a general and public profes- 
sion for its ancient system of dissimulation. The clamours 
of the zealous papists, who felt wounded in their belief, and 
imtated by the success of the friends of the Bible ] the 
alanns of devotees ; the incessant lamentations of the super- 
stitious partisans of images ; the discontent of many lords, 
who were disquieted about the effects which the religious 
changes among their vassals might have on their revenues ; 
and lastly, and above all, the complaints of the priests, 
whose influence diminished as much as their income ; — all 
these accused the brave Yaudois to the government of the 
young duke, and sought only for vengeance under the mask 
of religion and justice. We may believe that the judgment 
of the prince was in favour of a peaceable and moderate 
administration, and that the wish of his heart, enlightened 
by the gentle representations of his consort, would have 
led him to spare his inoffensive subjects. But being 
personally ignorant of that piety which is according to the 
truth, and brought up in the errors of Eome, how could he 
resist the solicitations of the inquisition, the prelates, and 
the pope's nuncio, with the lords of the court, and the am- 
bassadors of France, Spain, and various Italian princes in 
coalition against the Yaudois ? 

F'rged on by so many enemies of the gospel, Emmanuel 
Philibert, after reigning a year, published on the 1 5th of 
February, 1560, at Xice, where he resided, (Tui^in being 
still in the hands of the French, ) a persecuting edict against 
the Yaudois and the refonned in his domains. It prohi- 
bited every one of his highness' subjects from going to 
hear the non-catholic preachers in the vaUey of Lucerna, or 
any other place, under pain of a fine of a huncbed dol- 
lars of gold for the fii^st offence, and of being sent to the 
gaUeys for life, for the second. Half of the fine was pro- 
mised to the informer. ]!*^ew ordinances followed very soon 
after, increasing in severity ; and, among others, one enjoin- 

I 2 


ing attendance at mass, under pain of being condemned to 
the flames. The execution of these edicts was confided to 
a prince of the blood, Philip of Savoy, count de Raconis, a 
cousin of the duke, and to George Coste, count de la 
Trinite. To carry on the legal proceedings, there were 
joined with them Thomas Jacomel, inquisitor-general, a 
cruel, licentious man, and councillor Corbis, in whom 
violence had not extinguished sensibility, as he j)roved by 
resigning his commission after having been present at some 
scenes of barbarity, and the provost-general of justice.-'' 
They began the enforcing of the ordinance of persecution 
at Carignan ; and first of all on a stranger, in order to strike 
terror into the numerous members of the reformed church 
in that opulent cit}'. His name was Mathimn.f After 
having confessed his belief, he was sentenced to be burned, 
according to the terms of the edict, if in three days he did 
not retract and consent to go to mass. His faithful wile, 
Jane, obtained leave to see him, wishing, she said, to speak 
to him for his good. She had scarcely entered his cell, 
when, like the courageous mother in the book of Maccabees, 
she exhorted her husband in the presence of the commis- 
sioners to persevere in the profession of his faith for the sal- 
vation of his soul ; not to trouble himself about anything 
relating to this world, not even his punishment, which 
would not last long, nor his leaving her a widow and deso- 
late ; for she was resolved to go mth liim to death, if such 
were the will of God. The threats of the commissioners 
could not shake either her or her husband. She even ob- 
tained leave, by her entreaties, to suff'er punishment on the 
same day, and on the same pile, with her husband. 

The faithful in Carignan, and in a multitude of other 
places, persecuted to the extreme, fled to Turin, then 
belonging to Trance, or elsewhere. Their property was 
confiscated ; but they saved their lives, for a time at least. 
It is melancholy to add, but truth requires it, that many 
abjured their religion through fear of death, and to preserve 
their fortunes for their children. 

The executioners of the vengeance of Rome pillaged the 
districts of Meane and Mattis, in the vicinity of Susa, which 

* L^ger, pt. ii., p. 34— Gilles, ch. xL, pp. 72, 73. See the same author for all 
that foUows. 

t He is caUed Marcellin in a letter -written to a lord of Geneva, by Scipio 
Lentullus, a pastor of the valleys at that period. — (Leger, pt. ii., p. 3i.) 


were peopled ^dth Yaiidois. They condemned the inhabit- 
ants to the galleys, or to other punishments, and biu-ned the 
worthy minister to death slowly at a small fire. The 
valley of Barcelonette, and other places that had lately 
submitted to the duke, experienced similar treatment. 

Gradually, the persecution which was raging all round 
the valleys approached the ancient fortress of evangelical 
truth. Accounts from all quarters of the devastations, con- 
fiscations, arrests, ignominious sentences, pimishments, and 
abjurations, reached this region, which was destined to the 
same evils. In so critical a juncture, the pastors and prin- 
cipal persons of the valleys met together to advise on means 
for warding off the danger, if possible. They implored 
with ardent and humble prayers the direction of the Spirit 
of God and the effects of his all-powerful grace. It was 
then decided to write to the duke, the duchess, and the 
council, to lay before them the state of affairs, and the 
justice of their cause, and to implore the clemency of a 
sovereign whom they had never intentionally offended. 

In the letter to their prince, they claim from his justice 
the right granted to every accused person, even the most 
criminal, — that of being heard before they were condemned. 
They then solemnly protest their attachment to the true 
faith, and to the pure and spotless religion of the Lord 
Jesus Christ. They declare that the doctrine they followed 
was that of the prophets, the apostles, of the council of 
Xice, and Athanasius ; that they voluntarily received the 
decisions of the four principal councils and the writings of 
the ancient fathers of the chmxh, in every point in which 
they did not depart from the analogy of faith. They aver 
that they rendered most heartily the obedience due to their 
superiors, and that they sought peace with theii' neighboiu^s. 
That, as regarded their opinions, they by no means refused 
instruction ; that, so far fi-om opposing a free council, in 
which every question should be debated and detemiined by 
the word of God, they desired it with all their heart, and 
prayed God to dispose the prince to grant one. They then 
implore their sovereign to consider that the religion they 
followed was not a new one, as some persons would have 
him believe, but that it was the religion of their fathers, 
grandsires, and still more remote ancestors, and of their 
predecessors the holy martp's, confessors, prophets, and 


apostles. Tlicy then make mention of these confessions of 
faith, saying- that they had proposed it to the examination 
of the doctors of every university in the Christian world, 
with a promise of renouncing every error that might be 
found ill it, if it could be proved by the word of God ; but 
that not one had been pointed out to them. Consequently, 
they requested to be tolerated. " In the name of the Lord 
Jesus," they write, "we request, that if in us or in our 
religion any error or fault be found, it should be shown to 
us ; but if we have the truth, pure and irreproachable, it 
should be left to us pure and entii-e. One tiring is certain, 
most serene prince, that the word of God will not perish, 
but will abide for ever. If, then, oiu* religion is the pure 
word of God, as we are persuaded it is, and not a human 
invention, no human power will be able to abolish it. 
This is what Gamaliel urged in defence of the apostles, and 
every one must acknowledge its truth. ' Hefrain from these 
men,' said he : ' and let them alone : for if this counsel or 
this work be of men, it will come to nought : but if it be 
of God, ye cannot overthrow it ; lest haply ye be found 
even to fight against God,' Acts v. 38, 39." 

The courageous Yaudois then remind their prince that it 
had been in vain attampted in former times to destroy the 
religion of their ancestors by persecution, and they conjui'e 
him not to join with those who had stained their hands 
with innocent blood. They promise to render him entire 
fidelity and perfect submission in everything which would 
not affect their faith, wishing to '' render unto Ceesar the 
things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are 
God's." " And we pray with aU our heart," they add, 
" that our all-good and all-powerful God may please to pre- 
serve your highness in all prosperity." The letter was 
signed in the name of the inhabitants of the valleys of 
Lucerna, Angrogna, Perosa, San Martino, and innumerable 
other inhabitants of the country of Piedmont. 

The letter addressed to the duchess was in a different 
style : it contained no ai^ology. The writers expressed 
much confidence in her. They spoke to her as a protec- 
tress and a friend. They detailed the sufferings which the 
disciples of the word of God had ah-eady endured at Carig- 
nan and other places, and the terrible threats with which all 
those were visited who would not consent to attend at mass ; 


and, in imploring her benevolent and powerful mediation 
with the prince, her consort, they reminded her of the 
examples of Esther and other pious women, and of other 
believers who had saved the persecuted children of God. 

The letter addressed to the council reiterated the consi- 
derations and petitions contained in the letter to the duke, 
enforced by iresh. arguments. It dwelt on the obligation of 
Christians to prevent the effusion of innocent blood, and of 
the account they must render of their administration to 
God. It urged them to remember what God had said and 
done on account of the blood of one righteous man, Abel, 
and to consider what he would do for the blood of so great 
a number of the faithful whom they were persecuting to 
death. Finally, it claimed for themselves. Christians 
secluded in their mountains, the same tolerance that was 
granted to Jews and Saracens in the most considerable 
cities of Piedmont. 

The Yaudois added to this letter an apology or defence 
of their religion, as well as of their present and past con- 
duct. They victoriously refuted some unjust accusations 
and calumnies. They also sent their confession of faith. 

It was no small difficulty for men who were regarded as 
worthy only of contempt and reprobation, and given up 
beforehand to the executioners of justice, to get their justi- 
fication and requests safely into the hands of their prince 
and princess, who had been imposed upon by misrepre- 
sentations. One of their two fiiends, who had visited Xice 
for this pm^pose, de Castillon, allowed himself to be dis- 
mayed by the apprehension of affronts and insults. But 
the other, Gilles of Bricherasco, being kindly received by 
the count de Eaconis, did not leave his residence tiU he had 
placed all the documents in the hands of the duchess, Avith 
the assui^ance that she would lay them before the duke. 
The Taudois also requested the intercession and good offices 
of one of these lords, the count Charles of Lucema, lord of 

But while the deputies of the Yaudois repaired to Nice, 
and during the three months which elapsed before Gilles 
had delivered the letters to Margaret of France, the state 
of things, which was already so thi'eatening, became 
worse, and the hatred felt against the friends of the Bible 
manifested itself by acts of violence. Some of the lords of 


the country were the fu'st to become agents of persecu- 
tion, and rivalled the inquisitor and his tools in barbarity. 
"WTiile the Dominican, Jacomel, and the councillor Corbis, 
who were established at Pinerolo, signified by letters to the 
Vaudois that it was their duty to submit to the church of 
Eome, and to go to mass, and the count de Ptaconis entered 
into a conference at San Giovanni, in April, 1560, with the 
syndics and ministers, without any other result than an 
exchange of words, several lords ill-treated their vassals 
and neighbours on account of their religion. In the valley 
of Luccrna, great complaints were made of count Guillaume, 
who with some friends, and at the head of his servants, 
arrested and denounced the Vaudois who attended their 
own places of worship ; particularly those of Bibbiana, 
Campiglione, and Fenile. He turned this proceeding into 
a trading speculation, receiving for his trouble half the fine 
of a hundred gold dollars imposed by the edict on every 
delinqn.ent when convicted for the first time. 

In the valley of San Martino, two brothers, Charles and 
Eoniface Truchet, (or Truquet,) incessantly harassed the 
Yaudois in their seigniory of Rioclaret. They were im- 
pelled by hatred of evangelical religion. Even during the 
French domination, they did all in their power to hinder 
the public performance of religious services. These were 
the persons who arrested, and delivered up to the inquisi- 
tion, the bookseller Hector, who was burned at Tiuin. 
They had latterly made two attempts to seize the pastor. 
The first time, they left him for dead in the arms of his 
faithful parishioners, who fought for him ; and the second 
time, they would have arrested him in the temple itself, 
having already laid hands on him, but for the determined 
resistance of the congregation. The edict of persecution 
liad been solicited by them. They had even obtained per- 
mission to raise a hundred men, and to employ them in 
forcing the heretics to submission. 

Accordingly, in the month of April, 1560, they made a 
sudden assault on the hamlets in the commune of Hio- 
claret, which were scattered over the sides of the moun- 
tains, ravaging and slaughtering. The day had scarcely 
dawned ; the terrified inhabitants rushed out of their 
dwellings, the greater part without clothes, uttering cries 
of alarm to warn their brethren, and sought a refuge on 


the heights that were still covered with snow. The minis- 
ter escaped, but not without great difficulty; and while 
the population, driven away by the discharge of musketry, 
were destroyed by cold and hunger in the retreats of the 
woods and rocks, their impious assailants loaded themselves 
"^'ith their property in the forsaken cottages. A minister 
of the valley, soon after his return from Calabria, heai^ing 
of the invasion, wished to go and console his brethren in 
distress, but was discovered, seized and conducted to the 
abbey of Pinerolo, where Jacomel and Corbis condemned 
him to the flames with another man belonging to the 
valley of San Martino. The fugitives, however, beheld the 
dawn of deliverance, on the fourth day ; four hundi-ed of 
their brethren in the vale of Clusone, subjects of France, 
being moved with compassion at the news of their mis- 
fortune, crossed the mountains, and threw themselves on 
the hostile troop and dispersed it. The two Truchets were 
exasperated, and repaired to IS'ice, complained to the duke, 
and requested succour. Everything was promised them. 
They were also permitted to rebuild the castle of Perrier, 
which had been destro^-ed by the French twenty years 
before, and to place a garrison in it. The personal circum- 
stances'^ of these lords alone stopped the explosion of their 
wrath for a time.f 

Towards the end of the month of June, Philip of Savoy, 
count de Eaconis, and chief commissioner, came a second 
time into the valley of Lucema, accompanied by his col- 
league, the coimt de la Trinite. Ha^dng assembled the 
ministers and the syndics, they informed them that their 
letters had been sent to Rome by the duke, who waited for 
the pope's reply. Then addressing the leading men of the 
communes, they insinuated that persecution would cease 
immediately, and the prisoners be set at liberty, if the 
churches would consent to hear the preachers whom the 
duke should send to them, and if they withdi-ew the right 
of preaching fi^om their pastors, while they made trial of 
the former. The sjTidics replied, on the spot, to the first 
point : if the proposed preachers announced the piuT word 
of God, they would hear them; but if other^^^se, they would 
not. As to the second point, they requested that they might 

* They were taken by the Turks at sea, near Nice, but afterwards ransomed* 
t Gilles, ch. xiii., p. 88, etc. 

I 3 


have till the next day to consider it. Their answer was, 
that they could not silence their pastors, as long as they 
were ignorant whether the new preachers were the true 
servants of God, and ministers of the pure gospel of truth : a 
prudent and wise answer, and worthy of pious magistrates. 
They likewise refused to send back those of their pastors 
who were foreigners. As the commissioners of the duke 
required an answer in writing to their demands, the council 
of the communes assembled on the 30th of June, and gave 
one drawn up in decided terms, and yet with all the respect 
and courtesy due to the dignity of i^e prince to whom it 
was addressed. The dissatisfaction of the commissioners 
v/as excessive. In their wi'ath, they republished the edicts, 
and the persecution broke out more violently than ever. 

Among the greatest enemies whose fury the Yaudois had 
to dread, the monks of the abbey of Pinerolo must not be 
forgotten. ]S^ot content with living in opulence, it was at 
all times a special gratification to them to hunt the Yaudois. 
The present moment seemed to them particularly well 
suited for doing it on a large scale. Tor this purpose, they 
took into their pay a numerous band of wretches, who 
frequently made incursions on the evangelicals of the val- 
ley of Perosa, and of Saint-Germain in particular, a village 
only about a league and a half distant from Pinerolo. In 
one of their expeditions they succeeded but too well. 
Having gained over a man who was well known to the 
pastor of this latter place, they sent this traitor very early, 
before day, to the parsonage, requesting the attendance of 
the faithful pastor in an urgent case, who suspected no 
danger till it was too late ; that is, when he saw himself 
surroimded by the cut- throats of the abbe3^ He attempted 
to save himself by flight, and, at the same time, aroused 
the villagers by his outcries. Alas ! it was too late. He 
was hit, wounded, and carried off. Many of his faithful 
parishioners were also taken with him, and several women. 
Some were massacred in attempting to rescue him from the 
soldiers. The pastor, a few days after, was tied to the 
stake. By a refinement of cruelty, and for the amusement 
of the spectators, the poor female prisoners were forced to 
carry the faggots to the fire which was to consume their 
spiritual guide. The Bomish priests needed no instruction 
in the methods of inflicting suffering. 


The mercenaries of the abbey of Pinerolo, (de rAbbadic/j 
about three himcbed strong, made fresh expeditions against 
Saint-Germain, and laid it waste. Thej- also attacked 
Yillaro of the Pcrosa, not far fi'om it, and the neighbouring 
villages, Prarustin and San Bartolomeo. They extended 
their incursions as far as Penile, Campigiione, and other 
places in the plains, at the opening of the valley of 
Lucerna. Plunder was their favourite occupation. The 
prisoners were for the most part sent to the galleys. Their 
approach was the signal for a general flight. The perse- 
cuted peasantry hardly ventured to reap the crops. Famine 
and sore distress were spread over all parts of the Yaudois 
mountains in the direction of Pinerolo. 

These assassins, hired by the monks, in due time, how- 
ever, met with their match. The inhabitants of the valley 
of Lucema, moved with compassion for the calamities of 
their brethren, first formed a plan for protecting them, by 
means of a strong detachment of aiTaed men, who should 
keep guard while the persecuted people got in. their harvest, 
and put their affairs in order. Complete success crowned 
theii' efforts ; but, after their departure, the depredations 
began afresh, till one day the people of Angrogna, who 
were reaping their fields on the heights that overlook Saint- 
Gennain, heard a discharge of musketiy, and perceived a 
numerous body of armed men making their way to the 
village that lay at their feet. As soon as the cry of alann 
was raised by their brethren, the Angrogniues, well-armed, 
rushed into the plain, like an overwhelming avalanche. 
Having divided themselves into two bands, while one put 
the papists to flight, the other took possession of the bridge 
over the Clusone, to cut off their retreat. The enemy, thus 
siuToimded and beaten, had nothing left but to abandon 
their dead and wounded, and to throw themselves into the 
stream. Fortunately for them, the waters were low, o"\ving 
to the dryness of the summer; yet many perished, being 
struck by the shots that were fired from the banks. The 
Angrognines, on reckoning their number, found that they 
were about four hundred strong, and were on the point of 
marching to the abbey of Pinerolo, to deliver their captive 
brethren, which could have been easily done, as was after- 
wards known, since the monks and their people, being 
panic-stricken, had quitted the convent and taken refuge in 


tlie city. But the want of an experienced leader, and 
prudential considerations, restrained them from venturing 
into the stronghold of their infuriated enemies, who had 
already sounded the tocsin in their villages, and would soon 
do the same in Pinerolo. 

The Vaudois of the valley of Perosa, on the left side, 
who were subject to Prance, also had their troubles at this 
period. They were obliged sometimes, like their neigh- 
boiu-s, to have recourse to arms to defend themselves.* 

Nevertheless, the duke and his council were seriously 
occupied vtdth the requests and representations which the 
poor Yaudois had addressed to them in the spring. The 
duke, imagining that his religion was the best, and that 
its excellence could be demonstrated by sufficient reasons, 
and unquestionably also by the Holy Scriptures, to which 
the Yaudois always appealed when they spoke of defending 
theirs, was inclined to agree to holding conferences in 
which well-informed Catholics might demonstrate the truth 
of the Poman religion, and the error of the Yaudois wor- 
ship, f This proposal had been communicated to the pope, 
but did not meet with his approbation. The pontiff replied 
that he would never consent to make the points of his 
religion matters of debate ; that the constitutions of the 
Ptoman church must be admitted absolutely, without dis- 
pute or exceptions ; and that nothing remained but to 
proceed with the utmost rigour against the recusants ; that 
he would consent to send a legate with theologians to 
instruct the penitent, and to absolve those who abjured 
heresy, but that he was not sanguine of great results from 
this method ; that it would be most expedient to proceed 
against them in the way of pimishment, and even by force 
of arms. He ojffered the duke his assistance, if required. 

The pope's ad\T.ce was adopted by the council. They 
only modified it on one point. It was thought proper that 
the ecclesiastical commissioner should attempt to convince 
the Yaudois of their errors, and to instruct them, before 
proceeding to the last extremities. Por this mission, a 
man of note among his equals was chosen, though his merit 

* Gilles, pp. 94, 95. 

t Botta himself says, " H duca, desideroso di non far sangue, penso d'insti- 
tuire un colloquio, per cvii sperava dipotergli acquistare alia religione dei piu." 
" The duke, desu-ous of not shedding blood, thought of appointing a con- 
ference, by wliich he hoped to gain them over to the rehgion of the many." — 
Storia d'ltaha, t. ii., p. 423. 


"was not equal to his reputation, namely, Antoine Pousse- 
vin, commander of Saint- Antoine-de Fossan. He came to 
the valleys, furnished with very extensive powers, and anti- 
cipating an easy triumph. He preached with much parade 
at Cavor, Bibbiana, and Lucerna, making great preten- 
sions, and poiuing forth a stream of threatenings and invec- 
tives against the evangelicals. At San Giovanni, where he 
had called together the syndics and ministers of the valley 
of Lucerna, he thought to con"ST.nce those present by the 
word of God, by proving to them that it made mention of 
the mass, in using the word massah, which signifies to 
consecrate. He maintained that since the Holy Scriptures 
contain the word massah, in the sense of consecrating, the 
mass is taught in the Holy Scriptures. The ministers 
Avhom he flattered himself he had crushed and reduced to 
silence by this argument, had no difS.culty in proving to 
him that the quotation was not correct — that there is no 
mention of the mass in the sacred text — that the word 
massah never has this sense — and especially that the Bible 
nowhere teaches the doctrines represented or set forth in 
the mass, such as the repetition of our Lord's sacrifice, the 
adoration of the host, and many other errors. 

Poussevin, who had not expected to find in these despised 
ministers theological and biblical knowledge of which he 
himself was destitute, abruptly closed a discussion which 
he could not maintain with honour, and, huiTied away by 
passion, indulged in reproaches and thi^ats. The nobles 
and officers of justice who accompanied him were ashamed 
of his ignorance ; they were also deeply humbled by the 
marked inferiority in wliich this discussion placed their 
religion as well as their priests. 

These occun^ences took place in the course of the months 
of July and August. 

A little later, probably in the beginning of September, 
the Yaudois, understanding what sad results would be 
likely to follow from the report Poussevin would give of 
his ill success to the court, availed themselves of the duke's 
retiuTi to the north of Piedmont, to wiite to him again, and 
appeal to his justice and compassion. They also addressed 
Eenee of France, widow of the duke of Fen^ara, an en- 
lightened princess, and fi-iendly to the reformation, im- 
ploring her to intercede in their favour, in her journey to 


the court of Piedmont ; but the irritation was too great at 
head- quarters. It was there thought that too much con- 
sideration had been shown towards obstinate religionists; 
and that it would be right to compel them to abjure. 

From the month of October a report spread through the 
valleys that the duke was levying and assembling troops to 
exterminate the inhabitants. The Piedmontese who were 
connected with the Yaudois, urged their relations or friends 
to abjure or to make their escape while there was yet time. 
The count Charles of Lucerna also sought, by a clever 
manoeuvre, to lead his vassals of Angrogna into a criminal 
defection, to the dismissal of their pastors, the admission 
of new preachers, and the celebrating of the mass in their 
commune. A convention had even been signed, when the 
people acknowledged their fault and disavowed all that had 
been done. 

It only remained to prepare for the storm that was 
gathering and muttering as it approached, and was soon 
to burst on the valleys. The pastors and principal persons 
assembled repeatedly, and deliberated as to what measures 
it would be desirable to take, in order to avoid the total 
ruin with which they were tlii*eatened ; and, first of all, 
being convinced that God alone could deliver them, and 
that their only refuge was in his mercy and grace, they 
decided not to countenance any measure that would be 
prejudicial to his honour, or opposed to his word. They 
agreed to exhort every one to apply to God seriouslj^, with 
true faith and sincere repentance, as well as by humble and 
ardent prayer. Pelative to precautionary measures, they 
decided that every family should collect their provisions, 
clothes, and utensils, and carry them away, together with 
all infirm persons, to the most elevated dwellings at the 
foot of the heights and crags. At length, about the end of 
October, at the approach of the papist army, they held a 
public fast, and on the following Sunday partook of the 
Lord's supper. At this solenm juncture, the people were 
evidently strengthened from on high. They were resigned 
to the trials with which it pleased God to visit them for 
the holy cause of his gospel. In the cottages and on the 
mountain-tracks, as they were removing from their homes, 
these martyrs of the truth might be heard encouraging one 
another with edifying discourses and sacred songs. 


As to making a defence, there was a diversity of opinion. 
Some urged that they should not use arms till the last 
extremity, when they were pursued to their hiding-places 
on the mountains. Others were in favour of an immediate 
resistance, alleging that it was the pope, with his satellites, 
rather than their prince, who made war upon them, since, 
as it was affirmed, he engaged to pay a great part of the 
expense of the expedition ; ^' and as to bloodshed, if there 
were any, the guilt would lie not on those who defended 
their lives, their families, and their religion, but on those 
who attacked them unjustly. Xot to be mlling to defend 
themselves till they were reduced to their last asylum in 
the mountains, when the enemy would have pillaged and 
destroyed everything in the hamlets below, would be to 
destroy themselves without remedy, since no means of 
subsistence would then be left. They earnestly besought, 
therefore, that they should defend themselves as soon as 
the enemy entered the valleys, while trusting in God, the 
protector of the oppressed. This ox^inion prevailed, and 
they prepared for the combat. 

On the 1st of ]S'ovember, the Piedmontese army, of at 
least four thousand infantry, and two hundred horse, f 
composed in part of officers and soldiers who had grown 
old in the wars of their sovereign with France, and com- 
manded by the count de la Trinite, arrived at Bibbiana 
on the Yaudois territory, and the next day conmienced 
operations in the valley of Lucerna, by an attack on the 
heights of Angrogna, nearest to San Giovanni. To oppose 
these experienced and disciplined troops, the Yaudois had 
only a small number of men, badly armed, without order or 
militaiy science, having on their side, besides the assistance 
of Heaven, nothing but their native courage, their knowledge 
of the locality, and the habits of mountaineers ; for although 
the total population of the Yaudois valleys at that time 
amounted to eighteen thousand souls, :j: it is a well-known 
fact that their anned men did not exceed twelve hundi-ed, 
who were, moreover, scattered at great distances from one 

* " Fifty thousand, dollars per month, and the relinquishment for one year 
of the revenue of all the ecclesiastical propei-ty in the domains of his highness." 
— Gilles, ch. xviii., p. 115. 

t These are the numbers given by the pastor of San Giovanni, Scipio Len- 
tulus, in his letter to a lord of Geneva. — Leger, pt. ii., p. 35. 

1 See the above-mentioned letter of Lentnolus. 


another iu their three valleys. To the attack on the heights 
of Angrogna, by a body of twelve hundred Piedmontese, 
they could only oppose two hundred men, got together very 
hastily. These, nevertheless, did their duty so well that 
the enemy sounded a retreat, leaving more than sixty dead 
on the field, while the Yaudois lost only three ! * The 
same day, the army occupied La Torre, a small tovYn on the 
plain, in the heart of the valley of Lucerna, and peopled for 
the most part by Roman Catholics. La Trinite put the castle 
in repair, which was situated to the north, on a hill at the 
entrance of the valley of Angrogna, and which had been 
destroyed by the Prench during their occupation of the 
country. He placed a strong garrison in it, which became 
notorious for its cruelties. He also occupied the castle of 
Yillaro, in the same valley ; that of Perosa, in the vallej^ 
of the same name ; and that of Perrier, in the valley of San 
Martino. The main body of the army was at La Torre, 
whence it would advance to the north on Angrogna, to the 
west on Yillaro and Bobbio, and to the south on Pora. 
To the east, San Giovanni, Bibbiana, etc., were already 

On Monday, the 4th of ]^ovember, La Trinite made 
another attempt, by an expedition to La Combe, a popu- 
lous hamlet on the height which commands Yillaro, whither 
the inhabitants of this commune had withdrawn their 
families and effects ; but his troops were obliged to retreat 
with loss, as well as at Taillaret, a mountain hamlet on the 
north-west of La Torre. In these combats, the Yaudois gave 
proof of their military capacity, and of their courage and 
fixed resolution to die rather than surrender their families 
to the enemy. The general perceived that he could make 
little progress, unless he made use of artifice and policy. 
He had discovered in these mountaineers such sincerity 
and good-nature, joined with an ardent desire for peace — 
such a total ignorance of intrigues, and a confidence so 
extraordinary in the good faith of others — that he saw at 
once the use which might be made of these qualities. 
Having skilfully set Jacomel, the inquisitor, to work, and 
especially Gastaud, his private secretary, .who pretended to 
love the gospel, the count was not ashamed to deceive the 
principal persons of Angrogna, whom he had sent for, 

* According to the same letter. 


repeating to them the pretended language of the duke and 
duchess, most flattering to themselves, and, at the same 
time, the best adapted to laj- their susf)icions asleep ; leading 
them to suppose, that, by means of certain compliances, 
eyer}i;hing might be arranged amicably. He thus suc- 
ceeded in making them de^^osit, in the house of one of their 
sjTidics, some of their arms, which he seized, to allow 
the celebration (merely for fomi's sake as it was pre- 
tended,) of a mass in the temple of St. Laurent, at 
Angrogna, and to lead liim, a hostile general, to Pra-di- 
torre, a natural fortress, their ordinary refuge in times 
of persecution. Certainly the people of Angrogna dis- 
played a superabundance of coniidence or of simplicity. 
To crown the whole, he induced them, and, after their 
example, the other communes, in spite of the opposition 
of some intelligent men, and of the greater part of the 
ministers, to send the principal persons of their valleys 
as a deputation to the duke, then residing at Yercelli, 
(Turin being still in the power of the French) in order to 
obtain peace. 

By this artifice, the count de la Trinite gained more 
than one point. He laid asleep the vigilance of these poor 
people ; he weakened their resolution by the hope of peace ; 
he deprived them of their best coimsellors, and prevented 
them doing anything against him, for fear of putting in 
peril the negotiation, and even the lives of their chiefs, 
who were actually in the hands of the papists. On the 
other hand, by these measures, the count imposed no 
constraint ujDon himself, and was left quite free in his 
movements, as we shall soon see. 

Scarcely had the deputies left for Yercelli when the 
coimt began again to molest the people of Taillaret, a large 
hamlet in the commune of La Torre, situated to the north- 
west, at the foot of the majestic Yandalin. This locality 
is of peculiar importance in time of war, being at the 
junction of the mountain roads, which foiin a commimi- 
cation between the higher hamlets of YiUaro and the town 
of La ToiTe, and likewise between these same hamlets and 
to^TL, and the glen of Pra-di-torre, in the valley of Angrogna. 
Complaining of the want of respect shown to him, and of 
threats against his people, (in the style of the wolf in the 
fable,) he requii'ed, first of all, that they should humble 


tliemselves before him; then that they should surrender 
all their arms ; then he pillaged all theii' dwellings, no 
doubt, in order that they might be abandoned, and that the 
road to the mountains might be left open to him. He also 
made a great number prisoners. He acted in the same 
manner in the hamlets of Yillaro. The oppression became 
such, that at La Torre, under the very eyes of the general, 
nothing was secure ; and the evangelical inhabitants of the 
town endeavoured to secrete themselves, their ^AT.ves, and 
their daughters, Tvith whatever they could carry away, in 
the caverns of the rocks, although it was winter. Others 
more fortunate found an asylum in the neighbouring com- 
munes. The soldiers tracked them to their hiding-places. 
Let us mention one instance. They found in a cavern 
an aged man, a hundred and three years old, and his grand- 
daughter, who took care of him. After having killed 
the venerable man, they would have violated the girl, 
but she sprang over the precipice, preferring death to dis- 

La Trinite also exacted a contribution of six thousand 
dollars from the valley. He then required the dismissal of 
the ministers ; at least, he said, till the return of the 
deputies. They were obliged, or rather thought they 
were obliged to consent. He hoped to be able to make 
himself master of their persons on their departure ; but 
the Yaudois took such precautions, that they conducted 
them in safety, even across the snows and the high passes 
of Giidiano, and then through the vale of San Martino to 
theii' brethren of Pragela in the French territory. Stephen 
Noel, pastor of Angrogna, alone was excepted, as by favour 
of the count, who pretended to hold him in high esteem. 
But it was soon seen that this was done only in the hopes 
of carrpng him off with greater certainty. The scheme 
happily failed, thanks to the attachment of JS^oel's pa- 
rishioners, who protected him against the soldiers sent to 
seize him, and conducted him out of their reach. 

At last, the count de la Trinite, having destroyed all the 
wine and all the crops that he could not carry away with 
him, and having broken in pieces all the mills he could lay 
hands on, led his armj into winter- quarters in the plain, 
lea^king strong garrisons in the forts and castles of La 
Torre, Yillaro, Perosa, and Perrier. 


During their leader's absence, these garrisons committed 
all kinds of cruelties and atrocities. But it is more cre- 
ditable to be silent upon them than to relate them. 

The inhabitants of the valleys waited with great im- 
2)atience for the deputies who had been sent to Yercelli, lor 
the purpose of obtaining an honourable capitulation. At 
length, tidings came of their retm-n to theii' beloved moun- 
tains, to the bosom of their families, and their persecuted 
brethren. But it was seen, even before they uttered a 
syllable, by theii' appearance of son^ow, and their downcast 
looks, that they brought no good news, that they had been 
cruelly deceived, that they were ashamed of themselves 
and of the part they had been made to act. Gastaud, the 
count's secretary, they said, had frightened them, and made 
them present to the duke a letter totally different fi'om the 
one which their brethren of the valleys had charged them 
to deliver. They had been made to ask pardon of his high- 
ness and of the pope's legate. During the six weeks of 
their sojourn at Yercelli, they had been continually worried 
b}^ the monks. They had been loaded ^dth insults and 
thi^eats, till they felt th'emselves consti-ained to promise to 
go to mass. They brought back a formal order to the 
Yaudois commimes to receive the priests, to contribute to 
their support, and to consent to the Eomish worship, and 
consequently to the introduction of the mass, under pain 
of a general extermination. 

AYhat was to be done? Their situation had become 
worse than before. There remained only to choose between 
apostasy with peace, but at the price of thek soul's salva- 
tion, and fidelity to God, his word, and the apostolic church, 
Avith a prospect of terrible and immediate sufferings, but 
with the approbation of conscience, and the hope of the 
crown of life in heaven Avith the Lord. Placed between 
these two alternatives, the people chose the good part. 
They preferred life eternal to the good things of the present 
world. They rejected the disgraceful conditions which had 
been imposed upon them in the name of the prince. They 
recalled theii^ pastors, and again held di\'ine service pub- 
licly, and in the usual form. AYhere the introduction of 
some images into the temple had been allowed, as for 
example at Bobbio, they pulled them do^vn with indig- 
nation. Everywhere the generous intention was decidedly 


manifested of suffering everything, even to burning, flight, 
mid death, rather than deny the faith of their fathers. 

The pastors also received in these critical circumstances 
letters full of affection and Christian sympathy from their 
brethren in foreign parts. The assm^ance of a lively 
interest which they conveyed to them, the knowledge of 
the prayers that were offered up for them in various places, 
the advices of the purest brotherly love, and the exhorta- 
tions to look alone to God for deliverance, — all these testi- 
monies did them good ; they felt themselves less alone in 
the conflict. 

The sincere attachment which their neighbours and 
brethren in the faith of the vale of Clusone, or Pragela* 
had always sho^\Ti them, both in brighter days and in times 
of distress and persecution, but particularly in the latter, 
suggested a renewal of their ancient union. Deputies 
from the three valleys crossed the moimtains, covered with 
snow, and brought proposals of alliance to the communities 
in Clusone, whom their sovereign, Francis i., king of 
France, had also issued orders to persecute. The alliance 
was accepted without hesitation, and immediately ratified. 
It was agreed to render mutual succour with all their dis- 
I)osable means, whenever their ancient apostolic church 
should be persecuted. The fidelity of the contracting par- 
ties to their respective sovereigns f was, however, carefully 
reserved. The messengers from the valleys of Lucerna, 
Perosa, and San Martino received the oath of their brethren 
in Dauphine, who in their turn sent deputies to receive the 
oath of their allies. They arrived by way of Giuliano at 
Bobbio, where the alliance was unanimously sworn to by 
the assembly of all the heads of families. On the next 
day, they were spectators of the first aggressive act of these 
peaceable men, who, in the hope of peace, had always 
hitherto kept strictly on the defensive. All the people of 
the western hamlets in the valley of Lucerna rushed down, 
like one of their mountain torrents, on the fortress of Yil- 
laro, and demanded the release of their relations who were 
confined in its dungeons. The gentry of the district who 

* A valley to the north of the three Vaudois valleys of Piedmont : the vale of 
Clusone, is the continuation of the valley of Perosa.— See the map. 

t Although the vale of Clusone is on the eastern side of the Alps, inclosed 
in the Piedmontese possessions of the house of Savoy, it anciently made a part 
of Dauphine, and still belonged at that time to France. 


were in the castle, aided the garrison in making a \igorous 
defence. The Yaudois wanted artillery and other means 
for ctmying on a siege. One division of them had to 
guard the road to La Torre, for they there fought thi-ee 
times in foui' days ^vith the troops which the commandant 
of the castle in the latter place had sent to succour his 
companions in arms. The besieged, however, being ill 
suppHed with provisions, and above all m want of water, 
were obliged to capitulate on the tenth day. They surren- 
dered the fortress, which was immediately demohshed, and 
thought themselves weU off in being conducted to their 
advanced posts, and escaping with their lives. 

In the interval, the deputies of all the communes had 
met and ratified the alliance ^vith an oath, promising 
mutual succour, and engaging to determine on nothing 
Avithout consulting one another. Among the measures ot 
detail which they adopted, we must not omit noticing the 
lew of a chosen troop of one hundi'ed musketeers for con- 
stant seiwice, and destined to hasten to any point where 
an attack was thi'eatened, and on that account caUed " The 
riyino- Company." It is also worthy of notice and com- 
mendation that two pastors were appointed to attend them 
alternatelv in aH their expeditions, to remind them ol their 
Chiistian^ duties, to check aU excess, and regularly to 
celebrate religious service. . r. x-u ^ 

It was quite time to prepare for the warfare ; for the count 
de la Trinite haxiag heard of the siege of YiUaro, hastened 
to coUect his troops that were scattered in winter- quarters 
over thp plain, and to throw them into the vaUey of Lucema. 
Having arrived on February 2nd, 1561, the day after the 
surrender of the fortress, he renounced for a time his pui- 
pose of taking vengeance on the further end of the valley ; 
but, after having again tried, though uselessly, to divide his 
adversaries, by making offers and promises to the^people ot 
Ano-rogna, he resumed Ms preparations against the citadel 
of these mountains ; we mean, the higher part of the valley 
of Angrogna, caUed the Pra-di-torre. This spot, celebrated 
in the history of the vaUeys,* is in the shape of an immense 
funnel, of which the sides are of different heights, and which 
is much broken on one of them. It is girt on the north 
by the high rocky cliffs of I'lnfernet and bou^an, which 

* See ch. xvi. 


separate it from the vale of San Martino ; on the west by 
the impassable chain of the snowy mountains of the Rora, 
and the indented peaks, rivalling the Vandalin, which enve- 
lope the alpine valley of La Sellaveilla, with its summer 
cottages ; on the south by the sloping sides of the superb 
Yandalin, which sinks by sudden declivities to the wide 
table-land of Costa-Roussina, whence it descends on the 
south towards Taillaret, and the plain of La Torre ; lastly, 
on the east, by pasture-lands, more or less inclined, and by 
a mass of rocks, called Rocciailla, which, although inferior 
in height to the proud peaks in the vicinity, form, never- 
theless, an insurmountable barrier between the foot of Mount 
Cervin, on the north, and the torrent of Angrogna, on the 
south. Between these lofty mountains and La Rocciailla, 
a meadow called the Pra, or Pra-di-torre, with its small 
town, is stretched by the side of a pure and murmuring 
stream, and on all sides, on the slopes, the little domains 
with their rustic buildings surrounded b}^ orchards. This 
district is thickly peopled in summer, though much less in 
winter ; but it had not ceased to be so in the rigorous 
months, from the end of 1560 and the commencement of 
1561. The return of the count de la Trinite to the valleys 
caused the inhabitants of Angrogna immediately to take 
refuge in their ancient asylum. A mill was already in 
existence there for the use of the locality, and they pra- 
dently constructed a second.^' 

The enemy, clearly perceiving that the asylum of the 
Pra-di-torre was (so to speak) the heart of the valleys, and 
that the only method of inflicting a fatal wound was to 
make themselves masters of it, directed all their efforts to 
this quarter. After two successive attacks on the lower part 
of Angrogna, the first, fruitless, by the Sonnagliettes, or Poc- 
camaneot, and the second, made on difterent sides at once, 
with large forces and complete success, although dearly 
purchased, the count de la Trinite was master of the country 
as far as Pocciailla and La Cassa. Then, after having set 
fire to all the hamlets, without being able, however, to burn 
down the two temples, he assaulted the Pra-di-torre on the 
14th of February, at thi-ee diff'erent points; namely, by its 
natural entrance on the south-east, along the torrent and at 
the foot of Pocciailla, by the heights which separate it on 

* Gilles, ch. xxiii., p. 142. 


the north-cast from the valley of Pramol, and on the north, 
by those of the valley of San Alartino. The attack by the 
ordinarj^ road on the south-east, was announced by the 
conilagration. At the sight of the flames, consuming the 
forsaken hamlets, the refugees might suppose that the army 
was approaching ; they would perhaps have thi'0"\vn them- 
selves in a mass in this dii'cction, if they had not suspected 
a feint, and recollected that at all events a few men would 
suffice to defend so narrow a passage. They were not mis- 
taken. The attack on this side was only feigned. Six 
musketeers stopped and put to flight the hostile detachment. 
Another division which suddenly appeared on the plateau 
of La Yachere, to the north-east of Ilocciailla, coming from 
Pramol,"^ where it had passed the night, met with the same 
fate. But while our warlike peasantiy were pui'suing them, 
there was descried in the direction of the Pra-di-torre, on 
the ridges of the high mountains wliich separate it on the 
north from the vale of San Martino, a considerable body of 
soldiers rapidly descending. A cry of alarm was raised. 
The defenceless multitude addressed a fervent prayer to 
God, and while some ran to give notice to their principal 
force, which was occupied in pursuing the fugitives on the 
side of La Yachere, only twenty-five or thirty men went up 
to meet the enemj'. Being very soon rejoined by their 
victorious brethren and by the Plying Company, they fell 
on their knees, in sight of the papists, praying God to 
succour them, and then assailed their adversaries so im- 
petuously that they fled panic-stricken before them. Twice 
the unfortunate soldiers, fatigued by an extraordinary and 
forced march over the slippery turf or the rolling stones of 
the mountain, tiu^ned about, preferring to fight rather than 
to clamber up the same endless declivities which they had 
just descended ; and twice, terrified by the spiiit and rising 
courage of the Yaudois, they again fled and dispersed in all 
directions. The strong-limbed, practised mountaineers soon 
came up to them, and despatched them. The slaughter 
was great, and would have been greater still if the chaplain 
of the Flying Company had not checked it whenever he 
could make his voice heard. 

* In making this ctrcnit by St. Germain and Pramol, the enemy had gone 
round the dangerous passage of La Cassa, a little to the east, composed of the 
debris of broken and scattered rocks. 


This combat cost the lives of two of the principal officers 
in the count's army. One, Charles Truchet, lord of Rio- 
claret, who had persecuted his own vassals as w^e have 
seen, and was one of the promoters of this war, was first 
struck to the ground by a stone from a sling, and being 
left by his men, had his head cut off with his own sword. 
He was lamented b}^ his general and the army, for he was 
valiant and experienced. The other officer, Louis de Mon- 
teil, who was among the first that fled, had already passed 
the summit of the mountain, when a young man of eighteen 
came up ^\ith him in the snow, refused his ransom, and 
killed him. 

Thus the hopes of the papists, relative to this great 
enterprise, vanished. God granted the victory to his 
children. The pastors, and all who were unable to tight, 
never ceased, from morning to evening, to call upon his 
name, — like Moses, Hur, and Aaron, when Israel fought 
with Amalek. In the evening, the air resounded in all 
directions with songs of praise and expressions of gratitude 
to God. By this victory, the Yaudois gained considerable 
booty in arms, clothing, and warlike stores. 

Not having been successful at the Pra-di-torre, La Tri- 
nite, who had already burned the greater part of the ham- 
lets of Angrogna, vented his wrath on some villages in the 
vale of Lucerna. He surprised the village of Hora, com- 
posed of eighty families, and situated in a glen behind the 
mountain which rises on the right bank of the Peliee, to the 
south of La Torre and Yillaro, and which, inclining towards 
the east, pours its waters into the river just named, a little 
way from the town of Lucerna ; yet, in spite of the forces 
which the general sent, he did not make himself master of 
the village till the third day ; and such was the determined 
courage of as many of the inhabitants as could bear arms, 
and particular!}^ of the Plying Company, who were sent to 
their aid, that all the families, and even some of their goods, 
were saved, and brought across the snow by dangerous 
paths to Yillaro, where they were received with the most 
cordial hospitality. 

Yillaro had also been pointed out by the count to his 
officers as a place to be attacked. His army moved from 
La Torre in three divisions ; the main body consisting of 
infantry, by the high road ; the cavahy with the pioneers. 


and some light troops along the Pelice, in the plain ; the 
third column followed, on the other side of the river, the 
path which goes behind La Torre and passes between Bobbio 
and Yillaro. The duke's troops had the advantage of being 
in an open country. The Yaudois were obliged to give 
way on all points. Perhaps they were too much bent on 
defending some advanced x>osts. At this time, they were 
tiu-ned, and obliged to retreat, with some loss, abandoning 
Yillaro, to take a position among the vineyards at the 
entrance of La Combe, which the enemy was never able to 
force. They beheld their large and beautiful village bui^ned 
before their eyes; but considered themselves as less un- 
fortunate, in tids disaster, than if the enemy had established 
and fortified themselves in their abodes. 

La Trinite continued his ravages to the further end of 
the valley, pillaging, burning, and slaughtering. He even 
attempted to attack, with considerable forces, the higher 
hamlets in the commune of Yillaro ; but he was compelled 
to give up the attempt, and to retire mth loss. 

The end of February was now come. The count, seeing 
his army much reduced, spent a month in reinforcing it. 
Xew troops arrived every day at head-quarters. The duke 
of Savoy even obtained from the king of France ten com- 
panies of foot-soldiers, and some other choice ti'oops.'^' A 
body of Spaniards also joined the standard of persecution, 
so that from four thousand men, which composed the army 
of La Trinite at first, the numbers rose to about seven 
thousand. It included in its ranks the nobility of the 
country. At the head of such a fine army, the count 
thought himself sure of success, and his first eff'orts were 
dii-ected against the heart and bulAvark of the valleys, the 
asylum of all the fugitives, the celebrated Pra-di-torre. 
On the 17th of ITarch, he attacked it on the east, by the 
road along the torrent, below Eocciailla, by the brow and 
ridge of the mountain to the north-east of the same Eoc- 
ciailla, where the Yaudois had erected, over all the breadth, 
a formidable rampart,! ^^^ ^J ^^ intermediate path a little 
below this last, a dangerous path across the rocks, and 

* See Leorer, who quotes tlie Histoire Universelle of d'Aubigni. (Lc-ger, pt. 
ii.. pp. 36, 37; Gilles, ch. xxv., p. 150.) 

t There was at this pomt a natm-al rampait. La Cassa, aheacly mentioned ; 
another rampart was raised on the Gavia, commanding the post ; and a thii'd 
on the other extremity of La Vachere, called the bai-ricades. 



which, on that account, the Yaudois had not thought of 
lining mth defenders. The enemy had well-nigh penetrated 
by this narrow passage, for all the forces of the Yaudois 
were collected at the principal places of defence ; happily, 
the enemy was perceived in time and repulsed. Beaten 
at once, at all the three points of attack, the general saw 
his best officers killed before his face, and his choice and 
renowned troops decimated. He gave up, therefore, the 
design of continuing the assault on the following days, 
although he had made preparations for so doing, and re- 
treated the same evening mth his harassed army and the 
wounded, leaving a great number dead at the foot of the 
rampart and on all the approaches. 

While the defeated army was making a hasty retreat, 
the Yaudois might have caused it irreparable loss by 
attacking it in the defiles across the torrents, or along the 
precipices ; and this was the wish of a great many. But 
the principal leaders, and especially the ministers, were 
totally averse from it, reminding them that it was agreed 
to employ arms only to defend their lives, and to use them 
only as long as they were threatened. Admirable mode- 
ration ! and the more exemplary, since those towards whom 
it was exercised were devoid of pity. 

The success of this affair restored courage and hope to 
the Yaudois. Their enemies, on the contrary, were dis- 
concerted, and cast down. "God fights for them!" they 
exclaimed; and these words were echoed through Pied- 
mont. Even the count appeared desirous of peace, and 
made proposals for a treaty with these invincible peasants. 
They replied that they also wished to see the war at an 
end, and followed by an honourable peace, which should 
allow them to serve God with a good conscience. But they 
did not dare to trust him, after having been duped more 
than once by his fair words, and having even experienced 
that he talked of peace when he was meditating the most 
violent attacks. They showed more confidence in Philip 
of Savoy, count of Raconis, who, although chief commis- 
sioner of the persecution, seemed to disapprove of this war. 
They received his envoy favourably, — the same Gilles of 
Bricherasco, who had succeeded in placing their complaints, 
requests, and apologies, in the hands of the princess of 
Savoy, at Mce, in the preceding year ; but a most melan- 


choly event oeeiuTed to interrupt this negotiation. Gilles, 
although it Avas gro^Wng late, wished to return the same 
evening to the count's quarters. They gave him an escort; 
but ha^dng dismissed it too soon, he was killed by two 
men of Angrogna, who met him. The measures they at 
once adopted towards the count de Eaconis, and the im- 
mediate siuTender of the offenders, fi'eed the Yaudois 
authorities from all suspicion of being implicated in the 
act : but for a time it interrupted the negotiations. 

Dm-ing this parley, the count's army marched to the 
valley of San Martino, to raise the siege of the castle of 
Perrier, which was closely invested by the Vaudois of the 
vicinity, and by theii^ neighbours and allies of the valley of 
Clusone. At its approach the besiegers retired, with tiieir 
brethiTU of the lower villages, to the hamlets in the upper 
part of the valley, where they successfully defended them- 
selves for a month, and then had the satisfaction of seeing: 
the enemy retire. 

The Yaudois, who had retreated into the most rugged 
and savage localities, pressed and crowded into a few huts 
with all theii' families, saw their provisions rapidly diminish, 
wliile, at the same time, the number of their fugitive brethren 
who resorted to them in quest of shelter and food, increased. 
It might have been aj)prehended that famine would come, 
in addition to so many other sufferings, to weaken their 
bodies and discourage their hearts ; but He who fed 
Elijah by the brook Cherith, supplied the wants of his 
servants who had taken refuge among the sources of their 
mountain-ton^ents, and replenished the vessels of the widows, 
the children, and the poor, with ilom' and oil, according to 
theii' desire, as he once did lor the pious widow of Zarephath. 

The genial mildness of spring began to be felt even on 
the mountains. But wliile the sovereign Benefactor and 
Disposer of all things was awakening creation to new life, 
and shedding fertility over the earth, the cruel count de la 
Trinite was only j^lanning how to destroy God's noblest 
creatures, and moisten the soil with their blood. He 
longed, at any cost, to penetrate the asylum of the Pra- 
di-torre, to quench his thirst in a stream of blood, like a 
famished wolf, who, with open jaws and parched tongue 
hanging from his mouth, prowls for days, with fury in his 
heart, round a multitude of sheep and lambs, in a well- 

K 2 


inclosed fold, seeking for some opening by which to enter 
in. Such an entrance the count hop(;d. that he had found 
at last. He planned to surprise the Pra-di-torre through 
the hamlet of Taillaret, which, it may be remembered, is 
situated to the north of La Torre, on the south side of a 
moderately elevated plateau, at the foot of the eastern side 
of Yandalin, Avhich plateau separates the valley of Lucerna, 
and the commune of La Torre in particular, from the higher 
vale of Angrogna, on the Pra-di-torre. To succeed on this 
side, it was absolutely necessary to reach the plateau of 
Costa Eoussina unobserved, with the whole of the forces 
employed, before the alarm could be given ; otherwise the 
troops would be liable to be assailed from the higher 
ground, and infallibly driven back, while climbing up a 
slope of more than two leagues in length. The woful end 
of Truchet and his division, who were cut in pieces in a 
like situation, by a small number of herdsmen, was a suf&- 
cient lesson. It was therefore necessary, if possible, to 
lay asleep the vigilance of the people of Taillaret and their 
neighbours. The count, whom it cost but little to play the 
hypocrite, persuaded some influential individuals of Tail- 
laret, and in particular captain Michael Peymondet, to 
come and see him, having sent them the necessary passport. 
He flattered their vanity by saying that the duke esteemed 
them, and would give them proofs of liis good-will if they 
would lay down their arms and cease to exhibit distrust 
and a spirit of revolt by the incessant patrols they so unne- 
cessarily kept up. He assiu^ed them, that if they remained 
quiet, he would prevent the soldiers from giving them the 
least vexation ; but, on the contrary supposition, he would 
punish them with the utmost rigour. 

The vanity of these poor people being thus ^vrought 
upon, they promised to remain quiet, and they kept their 
word, notwithstanding the warnings and reproaches of the 
minister of the Plying Company, to whom they gave an 
account of their journey. The minister, foreboding what 
would happen, collected his company of musketeers at La 
Combe di Villaro, placed sentinels, and sent messengers in 
diff'erent directions to announce an impending attack : in 
fact, at daybreak, the small corps of picked men who had 
already rendered such great services to the Yaudois cause, 
were warned by the advanced sentinels that the papists 


Avere marching on Taillaret. They immediately sot out 
by a dangerous road, along slopes and precipices, with 
the intention of coming above Taillaret, where they would 
overlook the enemy. Nevertheless, the latter, in several 
bands, siu'prised all the small towns in this extensive quar- 
ter. A regiment of Spaniards were distinguished for their 
excesses. The credulous Eej-mondet escaped, not "svithout 
difficulty, with his wdfe and her newly -born infant. The 
troops reach the plateau. The Yaudois musketeers could 
not arrive in time. From the summit of the mountain, the 
enemy saw before them, to the north, the large and deep 
oval of the Pra-di-torre. In less than an hour, descend- 
ing by the slopes of Barfe, they would have reached the 
dwellings on the south side. But they preferred follow- 
ing a path which would allow them to attack the Pra-di- 
torre from above ; this proved their destmction. The 
Yaudois had finished their customary morning prayer, 
when, almost at the same time, their sentinels gave notice 
of the enemy's approach at three points ; by the plateau on 
the south, which we have just mentioned, and on the east 
by the two roads to the north and south of Eocciailla. 
Twelve men only threw themselves forward to meet the 
column issuing from the plateau by the narrow path, and 
they were sufficient to stop it. 

A traveller little accustomed to a mountainous tract, 
would advance T\ith hesitation and trembling on a path 
scarcely visible down a steep declivity. The steps of the 
great part of the duke's soldiers were not more firm; they 
halted, therefore, when they saw their narrow passage stop- 
ped by six resolute men ; and stones, and fragTaents of rocks, 
which six others were detaching fr-om the neighbouring 
heights to roll upon them, threatening to hiud them down 
T\ one boimd into the ravine. But their heai'ts failed 
them entirely when they saw the agile and intrepid moun- 
taineers running in constantly increasing numbers to the 
aid of their advanced guard. They turned their backs and 
fled precipitately to the plateau, where some of their ti'oop 
were resting. In the meanwhile, the Plying Company ad- 
vancing along the flank of the Yandalin, gained the heights 
which overlooked the plateau, and screening themselves 
behind large trees, rocks, and low walls that separated 
the pasture lands, opened a close and deadly fire. The 


popish troops, crowded together and exposed, lost a great 
number, while the sharpshooters of the mountains had only 
three killed. At last, having made another attempt to act 
on the offensive, they retreated, not by way of Taillaret, 
which would have been too exposed, but across the sum- 
mit of the mountain which sinks insensibly, and directing 
their course to La Torre, which, owing to its small breadth, 
was more easily defended. 

As to the two columns which were advancing by An- 
grogna, as they were not to act alone, but simply to sup- 
port the attack made on the side of Taillaret by causing a 
diversion, they retreated as soon as they saw their com- 
panions in arms put to flight on the neighbouring mountain. 

Such was the issue of the last attack made on the Yau- 
dois in this campaign. The count de la Trinite, probably 
fearful, after so many reverses, of being attacked in his 
quarters at La Torre by the warlike mountaineers, broke 
up his encampment the same night and retreated to Cavor 
with a part of his troops. From that place, he threatened 
again to ravage the whole country, to destro}^ the corn in 
the blade, the vines, and the trees ; but a dangerous illness, 
which brought him to the brink of the grave, prevented the 
execution of his evil designs. During his compulsory in- 
activity, the Yaudois renewed their relations "Vidth Philip of 
Savoy, count de Raconis, which had been interrupted by 
the murder of Gilles of Bricherasco. This prince, who, in 
the discharge of his office, as chief commissioner, had always 
given proofs of moderation, showed himself favourable to 
peace. He consented to transmit to the duchess the desires 
and request of her persecuted subjects, for the purpose of 
obtaining conditions such as their consciences could accept. 
Having received the necessary powers for negotiating, the 
count de E,aconis displayed a confiding benevolence which 
shortened the negotiation, and after a month of preliminary 
conferences, brought about an agreement which settled all 
the questions at issue, and was signed by both parties. 

A general pardon was granted to all persons in the val- 
leys and elsewhere, who had taken arms against his highness 
and against their particular lords on account of religion. 

The liberty of assembling in the customary places to hear 
sermons, and to perform all the acts of their religion, was 
granted to the greater part of the communities of the three 


T alleys,'^' and likewise of building edifices for this purpose. 
But the right of preaching and holding meetings was for- 
mally denied beyond the limits indicated in the capitula- 
tion. XeTcrtheless, the ministers were authorized to make 
pastoral ^dsits to such of their people as were residents in 
places where they had not the public exercise of their reli- 
gion,! provided these visits were made with j)rudence and 
discretion. It was specified that the answers which the 
Yaudois might give, when interrogated, concerning their 
faith, were not to be regarded as an infraction of the pre- 
sent treaty, nor as preaching for the piu-pose of making 

All the fugitives of the said valleys, and all those who 
had abjured, or promised to abjure, before the war, were 
permitted to return to their houses with their families, and 
to enjoy the free exercise of their religion. Their goods 
were to be restored to them ; all those, at least, which had 
been taken from them in the course of the war. A similar 
promise was made to the inhabitants of the valley of 
Meane, and of St. Barthelemi. 

Restitution was guaranteed to all, by legal means, of 
their movables and cattle (excepting what had been carried 
off" by the soldiers) as well as the redemption of the articles 
sold at the same price as the jDiu'chasers had paid for 
them. The same right was secui'ed to the Eoman Catho- 
lics against the Yaudois. 

To the Yaudois:|: all fi-anchises and immunities were 
confiiTued, as well as all privileges, whether granted by his 
highness, or his predecessors, or by the lords, provided 
they were vouched by public documents. 

* The places where the Vaudois were authorized to hold their religious 
assembhes were the follo^ving :— in the vaUey of Lucernu, Angrogna, Bobbio, 
YiUaro (with this condition, "that if the sovereign should Iniild a fort in this 
place, the reh.aious meetings should no longer he held in the town, but in one 
of the hamlets', or some other place approved by the inhabitants) Val-C4uichard, 
Rora ;— in the commune of La Torre, the hamlets of TaiUaret and La Rua cli 
Boneti (the town of La Torre was excluded) ;— in the vaUey of San Mariinu, 
Praah, Rodoret, Macel, ManeiUe ;— in the vallev of Perosa, Peui, a hamlet of 
the parish of La Perosa ; le Grand-Dublon (a hamlet of the parish of Pinachel, 
St. Germain (in the quarter of Dormillouse), Rocheplatte (in the Gaudens). 
The right of meeting in the temples was refused to those of San Giovanni, of 
the to-«Ti of La Torre, of Bibbiana, Rioclaret, etc. 

t The capitulation mentions especially those of the commime of il^ane, as 
well as those of Saint-Barthelemi, near Rocheplatte, as authorized to enjoy 
this privilege. 

t In the capitulation no particular name, as for example that of Vaudois, is 
given to those ^\-ith whom it is made. They are only described as inhabitants 
of the valleys {ceux des vallees.) 


The proper administration of justice was promised to 

A list of the fugitives who were to return was to be pre- 
pared and transmitted to his highness. 

The duke reserved to himself the liberty of erecting a 
fortress at Villaro ; but he gave, at the same time, the 
assurance that it should not be employed to the prejudice 
of the property and consciences of the people of the valleys. 

The duke also required the aforesaid to dismiss such of 
their pastors as he named ; but, in return, he permitted 
them to fill up their places. He excluded, however, the 
pastor Martin, of Pragela, from their choice. 

The right of celebrating the mass and other services of 
the E-orndsh worship in all the parishes of the valleys was 
renewed by his highness ; but the liberty of not being pre- 
sent at them was granted, in return, to those of the op- 
posite religion, while they were under obligation not to 
molest those who wished to attend such ser^dces. 

All the expenses of the war were remitted to the afore- 
said, as well as the eight thousand dollars which they owed 
his highness out of the sixteen thousand which they had 
engaged to pay. 

All the prisoners that remained in the hands of the 
soldiers were to be released for a moderate ransom : all 
those who had been sent to the galleys for their religion 
were to be set at libertj^ gratuitously. 

Permission was granted to all the inhabitants of the 
valleys of Meane, and other places mentioned in the capi- 
tulation, except the ministers, to stay, to come and go, to 
buy, sell, and traffic in the dominions of his highness, 
provided their settled residence was within their limits, "^ 
and that they abstain, in their journeys, from controversy, 
preaching, and holding assemblies. 

This treaty of peace was signed at Cavor the 5th of 
June, 1561, in the name of the duke, by Philip of Savoy, 
count de E-aconis, and in the name of the communities of 

* The history of Pinerolo mentions, after this article, a supplementary article 
which is not found in the copy given by L^orer. The substance of it is, that a 
Vaudois might obtain a dweiling beyond these limits, in the domains of his 
highness, if he foiind emplo;>Tnent there as a servant or farmer, or if he acquired 
property there, provided he did not hold rehgious meetings, etc. This article, 
not known to L^ger, and quoted by a Roman CathoUc author, is not without 
its importance. — See Storia di Pinerolo, Torino, 1834, t. iii., p. 54. 


the valleys, by two pastors, Francois Yal, minister of Yil- 
laro, and Claude Berge, minister of Taillaret, and by two of 
the principal deputies, George Monastier, syndic of An- 
grogna, and Michael Eeymondet, envoy of Taillaret.*^'' 

Such was the arrangement which was effected, thanks to 
the noble and generous heart of the distinguished Em- 
manuel Pliilibert, seconded by his royal consort, Margaret 
of France, by the honourable Philip of Savoy, count de 
Raconis, and certainly by the majority of a just and en- 
lightened council. "WTiether we call it a compact, a treaty, 
or a patent, matters little ; the essential point is, that the 
contract took effect according to the engagement of the 
parties who signed it. To call such an act (which was one 
of clemency, it is true, but also of justice,) " a blameable 
weakness," as is done by the liistorian Botta, because the 
duke of Savoy permitted the consent of his Yaudois sub- 
jects to regulate and determine the points of this arrange- 
ment, appears to us a criticism as ill-founded as it is un- 
just ; for why should a sovereign not allow his people to 
express their adhesion to the solemn act which regulates 
their relations to him ; especially when, being of different 
religions, the matter in hand is to' settle a mode of living 
which may harmonize his rights with the discharge of the 
duties which they feel themselves obliged to render to God ? 
Far from being chargeable with weakness, the prince who 
condescends to the religious wants of his subjects only 
shows himself just ; and if he consent to grant them gua- 
rantees b)^ an agreement signed by the two parties, he 
gives a proof of high wisdom, and places himself in the 
elevated and glorious position of father of his people. 
Certainly the house of Savoy never had to regret the polic)' 
it followed on this occasion. If, in order to meet the 
requirements of Rome, it has often persecuted its Yaudois 
subjects, by afterwards treating them with kindness, it so 
won their hearts, that their attachment, fidelity, and de- 
votedness to it has never failed. f 

Botta further remarks, that although the duke adhered 
to the edict for some years, he would never ratify it, nor 

* Leger, pt. ii., p. 38. The other deputies were Rambaud, of Villaro ; Arduinc, 
of Bobbio ; Jean Malanet, of San Giovanni ; Pierre Pascal, of the valley of Saa 
ilartino ; and Thomas Roman, of Saint-Germain, for the valley of Perosa. 

t Storia d'ltaha da Carolo Botta, t. ii., p. i2S, etc. . Paris : 1832. 


cause it to be registered by the senate and by the court of 
exchequer, — a formality indispensable for giving it the 
form of an edict to be observed. But this argumentation is 
strange. The authenticity of the treaty cannot be denied ;^' 
and its actual observance, had it been for ever so short a 
time, is equally a sufficient proof to establish its validity. 
The sequel of this history will show, moreover, that it 
became the basis of the ordinary relations between the 
civil authorities and the inhabitants of the valleys. It is 
lamentable that recourse should be had to such a subter- 
fuge, when it is so essential that the word of a prince 
should be treated with respect and confidence. All ho- 
nour to Emmanuel Philibert, who during his whole life 
was faithful to the agreement which was made in his 
name ! 

But though the two parties immediately interested agreed 
to the convention, finding it to be for their mutual advan- 
tage, there was one person who felt highly displeased : 
this was the pope, to whom the duke communicated the 
transaction. The Roman pontiff complained bitterly. He 
thought that this ''pernicious example" of tolerance would 
find imitators, and that by their lax indulgence, heresy 
would take perpetual root in the many kingdoms placed 
under his crosier. The monks and priests of Piedmont 
made themselves very busy, and if they did not succeed in 
breaking the treaty, they at least retarded or shackled its 
execution; particularly in what concerned the restitution 
of the confiscated! or pillaged goods, and the liberation of 
the prisoners, particularly those who had been sent to the 
galleys. Nevertheless, Philip of Savoy, count de Raconis, 
having agreed to lay the grievances of the Yaudois before 
the duchess, that excellent princess, after consulting with 
the venerable pastor, Noel of Angrogna, obtained the 
redress of all their wrongs and the strict execution of the 

The persecution lasted fifteen months, seven of which 
were spent in obstinate warfare. 

We now leave the valleys of Piedmont, and transport 

* L^ger gives in his history irrefragable proofs of the legal validity of this 
document ; pt. ii., p. 200, etc. 

t This restitution met with obstacles, especially at Bibbiana, Fenile, and ' 
Campiglione, small towns in the valley of Lucerna, at the extreme frontier 
towards the plain. 


ourselves to one of their ancient colonies, in Calabria, to be 
A\T.tnesses of its entire destruction.** 




The religious life wliicli the Reformation had awakened 
in the ancient Yaudois churches of the Alps, manifested 
itself, though more slowly, among their colonies in the 
kingdom of Xaples. The evangelical docti'ine, constantly 
taught for three centuries by the Yaudois barbes in their 
regular missions among their brethren of Apulia and 
Calabria, had maintained in the hearts of this persecuted 
race an indestructible aversion from Romish errors, at the 
same time that it gave their manners a character of mild- 
ness, sobriety, chastity, and fidelity, which struck all 
persons in their vicinity, though a certain timidity or 
prudence constrained them, in the presence of the enemies 
of their faith, to conceal part of their sentiments, and of 
their acts of worship. Xo district was more peaceable or 
flouiishing in the whole kingdom of Xaples than that which 
was inhabited and cultivated by the Yaudois of Calabria, 
not far from Montalto, and of which San Sesto and Guardia 
were at that time the most remarkable places. The inde- 
fatigable acti^-ity of these labourers, their order, their good 
manners, while they were a source of happiness for them- 
selves, had gained for them the favour of their lords, who 
derived considerable advantages fi'om them, — such as higher 
rents, and much greater security than from any other of 
their vassals. *' The clergy and priests alone," says an 
ancient author, " complained that they did not live like 
other people in matters of religion ; that they made none of 
their children priests or nuns ; that they gave themselves 
no concern about chants, wax-tapers, lights, bells, or even 
masses for their dead ; that they built temples without 
ornamenting them with any images ; they never went on 

* For the whole of this chapter see GiUes, chs. xi. to xs\'iii, Leger, pt. ii., 
pp. 29—40. 


pilgrimages ; they had their children instructed by unlaiown 
foreign schoolmasters, to whom they showed much more 
respect than to themselves, papng them (the clergy) 
nothing hut the tithes, just as they had agreed with their 
lords. They suspected that these said people had some 
particular belief, which prevented them from connecting 
themselves or mixing with the original inhabitants of the 
country, and that they were bad Roman Catholics." Never- 
theless, the abundance of the tithes, and the regularity of 
their payment, added to the dread of displeasing the lords, 
had restrained the suspicious and irritable zeal of the 
priests of the country.^' 

But at the news of the triumphs of the Reformation, the 
noise made by its doctrines, and the profound emotion they 
excited in Italy, suspicion was again awakened, and 
marked with a restless eye the most trifling proceedings 
of intelligent and generous men. The inquisition, watch- 
ing its 'prej, followed like bloodhounds the traces of the 
numerous writings, and especially of the sacred books, 
which were circulated in all places by the recent invention 
of printing ; and when the Yaudois colonies of Calabria 
awoke from their slumbers, agitated by the gales of the 
spirit of life which blew from the north, they were 
encountered by the ferocious aspect of their sworn foe, 
watching every step they took, and seeking to penetrate 
into their most secret thoughts. 

Being informed by the barbes who were sent to them,f 
of the courageous resolutions of the synod of Angrogna, in 
1532, and feeling constrained to glorify their Saviour openly 
by the example of the reformed churches, as well as by 
that of their brethren of Piedmont, the Yaudois colonies of 
Calabria wished to associate with the barbe Etienne Negrin, 
who had come to them from the valleys, a minister ordained 
at Geneva, above all others the city of the Reformation. 
They deputed for this purpose one of their principal men, 
Marco Uscegli, who, on reaching the city of Calvin, spoke 
on behalf of the Italian church, and obtained what he 
desired for it. A young Piedmontese, named Jean Louis 
Pascal, was then finishing his studies at Lausanne ; he had 

* See Perrin, Histoire des Vaudois, p. 197. 

t See Chapter xvii. — The minister Gilles, ancestor of the historian, was the 
last of these barbes who could return in peace to the vallej-s. 


quitted popery for the gospel, and _ the military scrTice for 
that of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ey general consent he was 
appointed for the perilous mission in Calabria.*' He set out 
wdth XJscegli, leaving his betrothed bridef at Geneva, whom 
he was never more to see in this world. 

Pascal's energetic ministry was not in vain. His preach- 
ing took possession of the souls of his hearers. The light 
so often hid under a bushel was now placed on a candle- 
stick ; but its splendour, beneficial to the sound eyes of the 
true believers, irritated the diseased organs of the papists, 
and alarmed the principal lord of the Vaudois of Calabria, 
the marquis of Spinello. Eoused by the outcry raised by 
the bigots of his religion, and perhaps feaiing lest he should 
himself be suspected of heresy if he did not act, the marquis, 
who had been heretofore so indulgent, now had recourse to 
measures of severity. He cited before him the principal of 
his vassals along vrith Pascal. He censui-ed and thi-eatened 
them, and cast the faithfal pastor and his friend Uscegli 
into the dungeons of Foscalda. This was in 1558, or 1559. 
The diocesan bishop of Cosenza, not being contented T\'itli 
these arrests, took the matter into his own hands. He 
attempted a forced conversion of the prisoners, if that were 
possible ; and at the same time persecuted the destitute 
flock, in spite of the secret efforts of the marquis to turn 
his blows aside. 

The apprehension of Pascal, and the perseverance of the 
faithful Calabrians in the evangelical doctrine having 
attracted the attention of the pope, his holiness delegated 
cardinal Alexandria., inquisitor-general, to put an end to 
heresy in the kingdom of jS^aples. The first essay at forced 
conversion was made in the spring of 1560, at San Sesto, 
a considerable town in the neighboui'hood of Montalto. 
Promises, exhortations, and threats were alternately em- 
ployed : nothing was neglected to overawe or seduce the 
inhabitants ; but rather than attend at mass they all fled 
together to a wood in the moimtain. The inquisitors, 
imable to pursue them instantly, betook themselves with 

* M. I. P. M * * *, in an article on the Vaudois of Calabria, in the Reviie 
Suisse, (Lausanne, 1839, t. ii., p. 691,) asserts, on the authority of a Grison 
minister of that period, that Pascal set out for Calabria, accompanied by 
another pastor and fr«"o schoolmasters. 

t [Her name was Camilla Guerina. See M'Crie's History of the Reforma- 
tion in Italy, p. 283.] 


all speed to the Yaudois city of Guardia, about twelve 
miles distant. Having shut the gates, they assembled the 
population, and falsely announced the return of the inhabi- 
tants of San Sesto to the pale of the Romish church. They 
pretended to love them, and pressed them to imitate so 
excellent an example. The marquis of Spinello joined his 
entreaties to those of these deceitful ^vretches, and promised 
them new temporal advantages; and these poor people, 
deceived and surprised, yielded and promised to comply 
with the demands made upon them. The truth, however, 
soon became known to them, and a considerable part 
escaped and proceeded to join the fugitives of San Sesto. 
Two companies of soldiers were sent in pursuit of them. 
In vain the unfortunate beings begged them to come to 
terms with them, and allow them to emigrate ; they were 
only answered by denunciations of death. Thus constrained 
to defend themselves by arms, they j^iit their enemies to 

This victory gained them some days of repose ; but it 
brought into Calabria the viceroy in person, at the head of 
a considerable number of troops. The fugitives were tracked 
in the woods by dogs trained for the purpose, to the foot of 
trees in which they had taken refuge, or to the copses and 
pits where they were secreted. Scarcely any escaped, but 
all were either taken prisoners or killed. While the viceroy 
threatened universal destruction, the inquisitors affected 
compassion, and were lavish of their expressions of peace, 
and thus drcAV the credulous people into their snares, who, 
as the chronicler Gilles says, thinking to escape the fuiy of 
the lion, threw themselves into the jaws of the serpent. 

When these double-faced men had, hj their artifices, 
got possession of more than sixteen hundi^ed persons, they 
threw aside the mask and the executions began. They 
wished to fix on their victims the odium of lewdness, and 
therefore put them to torture, hoping to force from them 
the confession that in their religious assemblies they were 
guilty of detestable impurities. But the patience of the 
tortured bafiled their ^dle design ; no one confessed. Charlin 
expired on the rack itself; his bowels being forced out. 
Yermincl, who had even consented to apostatize, was kept 
for eight hours on an instrument of torture, called a hell, 
without being prevailed upon to confess to such infamous 


calumnies. ^larcon, the father, was beaten with iron chains, 
and then killed. One of his sons had his throat cut ; and 
the other was precipitated from a liigh tower. Bernard 
Conte, for having thrown away from him a cnicifix which 
they wished him to hold, was led to Cosenza, and there, 
covered Tsath pitch, he was burned like a pine-torch; a 
honid punishment, copied from Xero. Sixty women were 
tortured : some of them were burned ; others died of their 
wounds ; the most beautiful disappeared. Eighty-eight 
men of Guardia were butchered at Montalto, by order of 
the inquisitor Panza. '' I confess," says a witness of this 
scene, a Roman Catholic, in a letter which has been pre- 
served to us,"^" " I can only compare these executions to a 
slaughter-house. The executioner came, and called out 
one of the unfortunate creatures, and having wrapped his 
head in a cloth, led him to a spot adjoining the house, made 
him fall on his knees, and cut his thi'oat with a knife. 
Then, taking off the bloody veil, he came for another 
prisoner, who underwent the same fate ; in this manner 
eighty-eight persons were butchered. I leave your imagi- 
nation to picture this horrible sight. At this very moment 
I can hardly restrain my tears. jS^o one can ever describe 
the meekness and patience with which these heretics suffered 
such a martyrdom and death. A small number of them, 
when at the point of death, declared that they embraced 
the Catholic faith ; but the greater part died in their in- 
fernal obstinacy. All the old men ended their lives Avith 
an imperturbable calmness ; only the yoimg manifested 
some agitation. A shudder comes over my whole frame 
when I picture to myself the executioner with the bloody 
knife between his teeth, holding the dripping napkin in his 
hand, entering the house, and, with his arms covered with 
blood, seizing the prisoners one after another, as a butcher 
goes and takes the sheep he is about to slaughter." 

Their bodies, when quartered, were fastened to stakes all 
along the road from Montalto to Chateau-Yilar, a distance 
of thirty-six miles, for the terror of heretics, and the satis- 

* See tliis letter in Porta, Historia Reformationis Rhetige, t. ii., pp. 310—312 
and in Pantaleon, Reriim in Eccles. Gestarum, pp. 337, 33S. The author of the 
letter also says, " These people were originally from the valley of Angrogna, 
near Savoy f and ta Calabria they call them Ultra-Montanes. They still 
occupy four cities in the kingdom of Naples ; but I have not learned tliat they 
conduct themselves amiss. (See the article on the Vaudois by M. I. P. M * * *, 
in the Revue Suisse, t. ii., p. 707.)— [See also M'Crie'sHistoiy of the Reforma- 
lion in Italy, p. 263.] 


faction of the Catholics. Those who were not massacred, 
and yet would not abjure, were sent to fill the Spanish 
galleys. Some only escaped by flight and reached the 
valleys, (the women dressed as men,) when the persecution 
described in the preceding chaj)ter was at its height ; some, 
still later, after incessant dangers, being forced to travel 
only by night, very frequently to go up the course of rivers 
till they could meet with fords, scantily fed on seeds, roots, 
fraits, and what they could get as alms, or purchase in out- 
of-the-way places. Many of them were stopped on the 
road and delivered up, the order having been given through- 
out Italy, to all officers of police, lightermen, bargemen, 
and others, not to allow to pass, and to every innkeeper, 
not to lodge any stranger presenting himself without a 
certificate from his parish priest, attested at each stage of 
his journej^ from the place of his setting out. 

The churches of the Yaudois valleys mourned over those 
of Calabria that were thus destroyed ; especially the pastors 
who had exercised their ministry among them, and who 
knew each of the \dctims whom the survivors named to them. 
Their hearts were melted with sorrow when they learned 
the fate of their colleague, Etiemie J^egrin, who, after 
having resisted all the solicitations and seductions of the 
priests in the prison of Cosenza, died of starvation or of 
other secret tortures. As to Louis Pascal, he consummated, 
after all the others, at the stake at Rome, in the presence of 
the pope, the cardinals, and an immense concourse of spec- 
tators, the sacrifice which he had begun in separating him- 
self, for a time as he suj)posed, from his betrothed, to visit 
Calabria. Neither flatteries nor importunities; nor the 
continual threats of a crowd of monks and priests ; nor the 
bodily sufferings he endured in damp prisons, where he was 
not even allowed straw ; nor the prayers and tears of a 
dear brother-''' who remained a papist, who implored him to 
recant, and to tempt him more stronglj^, offcTed him half his 
property ; nor the sad remembrance of a tender friend, who 
though not yet espoused, would by his death be left, as it 
were, a Avidow ; no human power, — in short, nothing could 
move this faithful and tried soul. It was decided at last to 

* His brother thus whites : " It was hideous to see him, bareheaded, his arms 
and hands tied so tightly with small cords tliat they penetrated the flesh, as 
if he were about to )je led to the gibl^et. Seeing him in tliis state, and going 
fonvard to embrace him, in my distress I fell to the gi'ound, by which I in- 
creased his sulfermg."— Crespin, Histoire des Mai-tyrs, fol. 520.— M'Crie, p. 285. 


pimisli him -w-ithout waiting any longer. The pope deter- 
mined to give himself the pleasure of being present at the 
last moments of so obstinate a heretic, who had constantly 
called him antichrist. 

On Monday, the 9th of September, 1560, an excited 
multitude might be seen eagerly pressing towards the court 
of the castle of St. Angelo. A scaffold, and close by a pile 
of fagots, had been akeady placed there. In the immediate 
Ticinity, rose an amphitheatre of richly decorated benches, 
on which were seated his holiness the pope, vicar of Jesus 
Christ on earth, the cardinals, the inquisitors, with priests, 
and monks of all kinds in great numbers. AMien the martyr 
to Chiistian ti'uth appeared, dragging himself along with 
difficulty under the weight of his chains, liis enemies, who 
watched ail his motions and the play of liis features, ready 
to exult in the least symptom of weakness, could not detect 
in his countenance any change or fear. There was the same 
mild and resigned expression which had never left him 
during the whole time of his long imprisonment. Having 
arrived at the scaffold, and taking advantage of a short 
interval of silence, he declared to the people that if he were 
put to death it would not be for any crime, but for having 
confessed vrith purity and boldness the doctrine of his Divine 
Master and Saviour Jesus Christ. " As to those," he went 
on to say, " who hold the pope to be God upon earth and 
vicar of Jesus Christ, they are strangely mistaken, seeing 
that in everything, and everywhere, he shows himself to be 
a mortal enemy of His doctrine and true service, and of pure 
religion, and by his actions that he is manifestly the real 
antichrist." He could say no more. The inquisitors gave 
the signal to the executioner, who, raising Mm from the 
ground, put an end to his life by strangulation. His body 
was tMoAvn on the funeral pile and soon reduced to ashes. 
" The pope," says a historian, " must have wished himself 
elsewhere, or that Pascal had been dumb, or the people deaf; 
for he said many things against the pope, according to the 
word of God, which displeased him exceedingly. Thus 
this man died, calling on God with so ardent a zeal that he 
deeply moved the assistants at his execution, and made tjie 
pope and his cai^dinals gnash their teeth."* 

* Crespin, Hist, des Martyrs, fol. 520.— Perrin, Hist, des Vaudois, et des 
Albigeois, p. 207. 


_ The Yaudois churches of Apulia and some other pro- 
vinces of Naples, not having displayed any extraordinary 
zeal, escaped the suspicious notice of Borne. Those of 
their members who had real piety, were not slow in dis- 
posing of their property and taking refuge in a safe place. 
All the rest bent their heads before the storm and aban- 
doned the profession of the gospel. At the present day, we 
should seek in vain, in these countries, for vestiges of the 
once flourishing Yaudois colonies. "^^ 




The peace signed at Cavor on the 5th of June, 1561, by 
Philip of Savoy, and the deputies of the valleys, had dis- 
sipated many fears, and restored tranquillity to a desolated 
country. The hearts of mothers no longer failed them at 
the very name of soldiers, and the prospect of hateful and 
agonizing scenes no longer drew their restless and stealthy 
glances to their offspring. The aged people were once 
more led, ^dth slow and feeble steps, from their hiding- 
places in the mountains. The joy of returning to the 
places where they had passed their infancy under the 
vines on the hill-side, or the shade of the chesnut-trees, 
brought smiles on their faces again. Sons and fathers hung- 
up their weapons, and their warlike hands once more took 
the spade and sickle for their peaceful occupations. But 
the signing of the treaty, though it had allayed many fears, 
had not healed all their wounds; some were too deep. 
The distress most generally felt, was increasing want. 
Seven months of unsparing warfare on the part of the 
papists had impoverished every family. Y^hole villages 
and countless hamlets had been consumed by the flames, 
and were only a heap of ruins. They had to be rebuilt, 

* For the whole of this chapter consult Botta, Storia d'ltaha, t. ii., p. 430, 
and foUoAving : — Gilles, Hist. Eccles., ch. xxix. — Leger, Histoire G^n^rale, pt. 
ii., p. 333.— Perrin, Histoire des Vaudois, p. 199.— Revne Suisse, t. ii.— Crespin, 
fol. 515, etc. 

mfJUST OEDEE. 211 

but everytliing "was wanting. The provisions of the pre- 
cedino; year had come to an end. The time for sowing 
corn was past. The harvest approached, but there was 
hardly anything to reap, for only the heights had been 
cultivated and the best lands had been left tallow. To this 
destitution was added the difficulty of pro^-iding for the 
maintenance and establishment of the Calabrian fugitives, 
who came to the valleys stript of everything. 

In this state of things, and by the ad^-ice of the church 
of Geneva, the churches of the valleys had recourse to the 
chmty of their brethren in Switzerland and Germany. 
John CaMn exerted himself for them ^vith great zeal. 
Their deputies were everywhere received with interest, and 
had the consolation of collecting sums adequate to relieve 
their most pressing necessities. The elector palatine made 
the largest donation. ^N^ext to him may be mentioned the 
duke of AYurtemburg, the marquis of Baden, the evan- 
gelical cantons, with Berne at their head, the church of 
Strasburg, and a great number of others, among which the 
churches of Provence may be specially noticed. France 
would have sent much more, if the collections made in dif- 
ferent places had not been checked by internal troubles. 

In addition to the daily trials caused by theii' actual 
indigence, they had to endure various annoyances from the 
priests and monks. They provoked the pastors to disputes 
on religion. An exchange of letters took place, and be- 
came a pretext for violent measures. The Vaudois were 
accused of fomenting discord, and the civil authorities, 
deceived by false reports, published on the 6th of May, 
1563, a mandate prohibiting the Catholics from holding 
any relation or intercourse with the heretics. But as this 
vexatious measure occasioned inconvenience to the pa- 
pists — as much to the monks themselves as to the poor 
Yaudois — the gentry of the country and neighbom-hood ap- 
pealed to the duke and procured a modification of the de- 
cree.^*' On the market-day, July 9th, it was annoiuiced at 
Lucema that his highness did not mean that commercial 
deaKngs should cease between the professors of the two reli- 
gions, "but only that they should abstain fi'om controversy. 

* In fact, bvthis measure, the markets of many small towns on the frontiers, 
and even in Pinerolo, found themselves deprived of a proper supply of pro- 
visions, etc. 


The enemies of the Yaudois were not willing to consider 
themselves defeated. Pretending that the treaty of peace 
had not been exactly observed in all points by the people 
of the valleys, they endeavoured to foment intrigues against 
them at court, and to impose upon the duke by false 
reports. On the faith of their calumnious representations, 
the go\'ernment thought of restricting the liberties of the 
Yaudois by severe measures, and, for the execution of its 
designs, chose Sebastian Gratiol, of Castrocaro, a Tuscan 
by birth, a man worthy of such a charge. He had served 
against the Yaudois as colonel of the militia in the last 
persecution, under the count de la Trinite. Having been 
taken prisoner in one encounter, he had been honourably 
treated and released out of respect to the duchess, to whose 
retinue he pretended to belong. Being deeply mortified at 
finding himself in the hands of these rustic mountaineers, 
and at owing his liberty to their generosity, he thought 
himself fitted to act the part of an oppressor, and succeeded 
in getting himself appointed, first of all, commissioner of 
the duke in the vallej^s, and soon after governor of the 
same. Two contrary influences contributed to his eleva- 
tion : the support of the archbishop of Turin, to whom he 
had promised to do everj^thing for the conversion of the 
Yaudois to popery, and the recommendation of the pious 
princess, the protectress of the valleys, to whom he 
managed to recommend himself, and whose vigilance he 
deceived by false rej)resentations. 

The first words of Castrocaro on his arrival in the valley 
of Lucerna, in the spring of 1565, were threatening. The 
duke, he said, retracted the concessions which he had made 
in the treaty of peace. But the churches having appealed 
to his highness, the commissioner modified his language, 
and only insisted on the immediate signature of an engage- 
ment, drawn up by himself, which tended considerably to 
restrict the liberties of the churches and of private persons. 
In case of refusal, the cavalry were immediately to enter 
the valleys and renew the war. 

In so critical a position, the churches conducted them- 
selves with wisdom, combining prudence with firmness in 
their answers, and a respectful tone with sound arguments. 
The latter, however, would, according to all appearance, 
have had little weight, if the excellent j^rincess, whom God 


had placed near the duke as their safeguard, had not again 
interceded in their favour. Yet the answer in which she 
acquaints the churches with the success of her intervention, 
and the abandonment of the demands which had so greatly 
disquieted them, indicates too great confidence in the craftv 
individual who was imposed on the valleys as governor. 

Castrocaro being established with a strong garrison in 
the castle of La Torre, in the valley of Lucerna, only kept 
too well the promises he had made to the archbishop. He 
ordered the pastor of San Giovanni to refuse the holy sup- 
per to many who came from lower Piedmont and apjDlied 
for it. He requii^d the chiu'ch at Bobbio to dismiss their 
pastor, on the pretext that he was a foreigner. Then, on 
the refusal of its noble-hearted members, he pronounced 
their sequestration, and forbade every person under his juris- 
diction from having the least connexion or intercourse with 
them. He imprisoned, fined, or ill-treated in some other 
way, all who did not comply with the slightest intimation 
of his wishes. He vexed the pastors : one of the most 
respectable, Gilles, on his return from Geneva through 
Dauphine, was arrested as a conspirator by the soldiers of 
the governor, thrown into a dungeon, loaded with irons, 
and then conducted to Turin by the archers and a detach- 
ment of cavahy. 

Intolerance and religious oppression were felt not only 
in the valleys of Lucerna, Angrogna, and San Martino, (the 
greater part of the valley of Perosa on the left side was 
then subject to France,) but in all the towns of Piedmont 
where the reformed were to be found. An edict, published 
the 10th of June, 1565, enjoined them to attend mass, 
or to leave the dominions of his highness within two months. 
'' The duke no longer wishes to allow two religions in his 
coimtiy," was the chancellor's answer to some reformed 
members of the noble family of Solari. In fact, a great 
number of them had to choose between exile and a prison. 

The hearing and sight of so many grievances, and espe- 
cially the dread of still greater, dictated an extreme measure 
to some of the Yaudois and their friends ; they implored 
the intercession of the Protestant princes of Germany, and 
especially of the electors of the Palatinate and Saxony, with 
the duke. These generous defenders of the faith sent as 
an ambassador for this pui'pose, to his highness of Savoy, 


John Junius, councillor of state of the elector Palatine, and 
a man of piety, and experienced in business. He arrived at 
Turin in Eebruary, 1566. A strange proceeding, and con- 
trary to the law of nations, soon taught him the zeal, or 
rather madness, which operated against those who were not 
papists. Barheri, the fiscal general, no sooner heard that 
the secretarj^ of the embassy, David Chaillet, was a minister 
of the gospel, than he proceeded to put him under arrest 
in his hotel. It is right to say that the councillor .Junius, 
having immediately complained of this gross infraction 
of the law of nations, and demanding reparation for the 
insult committed against his prince in the person of one of 
the members of his embassy, obtained his immediate libera- 
tion, and the arrest of Barberi. But this unheard-of act 
served as the basis and argument of the remonstrances 
which the delegate of the Protestant courts of Germany 
made on the part of his masters to the court of Savoy, on 
the subject of the persecutions against the Yaudois and the 
reformed in general. The government of Turin was not 
pleased with these officious interventions. JN^evertheless, 
the duke promised some relaxation in the measui-es taken 
against the reformed in Piedmont, and throughout his do- 
minions in general. He also assured the ambassador, that 
the conditions of the treaty of peace, made -with the inha- 
bitants of the valleys, should be strictly observed. The im- 
mediate result was the liberation of some prisoners — of the 
respectable minister Gilles in particular — to the great joy of 
the members of his church, his colleagues, and all the people. 
How little dependence could be placed on the promises 
of the court of Turin to the Protestant ambassador appeared 
soon after his departure. He had scarcely cleared the fron- 
tier, when Castrocaro issued two ordinances in the valley 
of Lucerna, one of which enjoined on every inhabitant, or 
native of any place not under his government, to leave the 
country on the morrow, rmder pain of death and the con- 
fiscation of his property. The other ordinance prohibited 
the reformed of Lucerna, Bibbiana, Campiglione and Penile, 
from coming to the preaching at San Giovanni, under the 
same penalties. The castle of La Torre was soon crowded 
with prisoners, who could never deem it their duty to obey 
such orders. A deputation to the court and the interces- 
sion of the good duchess once more diverted the storm. 


The dungeons were opened, the accused returned in peace 
to their habitations, and the ordinances fell into oblivion.* 
Castrocaro would not suffer himself to be stopped by the 
obstacles opposed to his zeal in high quarters. He did not 
the less pursue the course of his oppressive attempts, con- 
formably to his secret engagements. He had already en- 
deavoured, but, thanks to the intervention of the duchess, 
without success, to restrain a custom established from time 
immemorial, that of synodical meetings of the pastors and 
deputies of the parishes of all the Yaudois churches, both 
those of the Piedmontese valleys, and those of Dauphine and 
other places.! l^ot being able to prevent the sjmods, he 
attempted to alter theii' character, and to cramp the liberty 
of the members, as well as the discussions and votes, by 
being there in person. His presence in the sjmod of Bobbio 
was protested against, but in vain ; Castrocaro remained in 
the assembly. 

The persecution was also renewed against the reformed 
in lower Piedmont, Barcelonetta, and other places. It be- 
came, indeed, so violent, that a great number of these poor 
people took refuge for a time at Yars, Guillestre, Fraissi- 
niere, and the other valleys of the Upper Dauphine. 

The news of these proceedings, so little in conformity 
with the promises made to councillor Junius, was brought 
to the princes who had sent him as ambassador to Turin, 
and excited their sti'ong displeasure. The elector Palatine 
complained to the duke of Savoy. The historian Gilles 
has preserved the remarkable letter which that prince wrote 
on this occasion ; it is as remarkable for the elevation of 
its views, as for the nobleness and piu-ity of its sentiments. 
It is a glowing defence of liberty of conscience; an eloquent 
pleading in favour of toleration ; and, at the same time, an 
act of homage to the Chi'istian faith, an appeal to the con- 
science and justice of the duke, and a serious warning of 
the judgment to come. '' Let your highness," it is there 

* Under Castrocaro's administration the fortress of Mirebouc was erected, 
at the bottora of the valley of Lucema, in the commune of Bobbio, on the 
frontiers of France, at the foot of the Col de la Croix. 

t The marquisate of Saluzzo, for example.— A general Vaudois s.\Tiod, hke 
those to which we have aUuded, was held at the end of May, 1567, at V illaret, 
in the vale of Clusone or Pra<jela, in Dauphine, to adopt resolutions and mea- 
sm-es of safetv, occasioned by the fear of the passage, m the vicinity ot the 
vaUeys, of the 'anny of the duke of Alva, in its march to Flanders, -bee (^lUes, 
eh. XXXV., p. 238. 


said, '^ know that there is a God in heaven, who not only 
contemplates the actions, but also tries the hearts and reins 
of men, and from whom nothing is hid. Let your high- 
ness take care not voluntarily to make war upon God, and 
not to persecute Christ in his members ; for if he permit 
this for a time, in order to exercise the patience of his 
peoj^le, he will, nevertheless, at last chastise the persecu- 
tors by horrible punishments. Let not your highness allow 
yourself to be misled by the seducing discourses of the 
papists, who, perhaps, will promise you the kingdom of 
heaven and eternal life, provided that, by some means or pre- 
text, you banish, imprison, and at last exterminate these 
Huguenots, as they now call good Clmstians ; for assuredly- 
no one can enter the kingdom of heaven by cruelty, inhu- 
manity, and calumny. Another way must be followed in 
order to enter in. . . . Persecution, moreover, will 
never advance the cause it pretends to defend. So far 
have those who have afflicted Christians, who have tor- 
mented and exiled them, or taken away their lives, been 
from annihilating them, that, on the contrary, they have 
increased their numbers ; so that the adage has been con- 
stantly verified — The ashes of the martja^s are the seed of 
the Christian chui'ch. For the church resembles the palm- 
tree, which rises higher the more it is confined. Let your 
highness consider that the Christian religion was estab- 
lished by persuasion and not by violence ; and as it is certain 
that religion is nothing else than a firm and enlightened 
persuasion of God, and of his will, as revealed in his word 
and engraven in the hearts of believers by the Holy Spirit, 
it cannot, when once rooted, be torn away by tortures ; for 
believers will rather endure any pimishment and suffering 
whatever, than do anything which in their esteem is con- 
trary to piety." 

We do not laiow what was the moral effect of this letter 
on the duke's mind. Possibly it contributed, in some 
degree, to a more moderate system which prevailed in the 
government of the valleys, during a series of years, even 
when the king of Prance had given the signal and example 
of persecution to the utmost, in causing the blood of his 
Protestant subjects to flow like a river on the evening of 
St. Bartholomew. 

The Yaudois churches in the marquisate of Saluzzo, to 


the south of the valley of Liieerna, on the l3anks and near 
the sources of the Po, had shared the fate of the tLi-ritory, 
and had been for many years under the dominion of 
France. Owing to the arrangements of every kind, which 
the interests of the French policy prescribed, in the admi- 
nistration of a country of foreign maimers and language, 
on the other side the Alps, the reformation, or, ^\-hich is 
the same thing, the Yaudois chuix-h, made rapid progress 
there. Congregations, or churches, more or less numerous, 
had been formed in most of the cities of the marquisate, 
and in a great number of ^dllages. Active andf devoted 
pastors visited frecjuenth- and in rotation those places where 
they did not reside. They amounted, in 1567, to nine. 
For the safety of their persons they were generally obliged 
to have recourse to precautionaiy measm-es in their journey 
for evangelizing, and in their meetings. The chuix-hes 
retired in the mountains, as that of Aceil, enjoyed more 
liberty. At Pravilhelm particularly, an ancient and venerable 
stock of the Yaudois church in those parts,^-' the preaclung 
of the word and the administration of the sacraments were 
openly performed, and with full security. Accordingly, 
people resorted thither fi^om all quarters for this pur[oose. 
But ordinarily, in all other places, the religious services 
were performed in private houses and small assemblies. 

The Eomish clergy were ii-ritated at the progress of the 
refoi-mation ; but being restrained, in the overflowings of 
their jealousy, by the royal intention of not distiu^bing the 
peaceable and prudent members of the refoiTaed church in 
the exercise of theii' worship, they had recourse to a 
dexterous method of weakening them. Knowing that the 
greater number of the pastors were not natives of the 
king's dominions, they sought and obtained from the dulvc 
de jS'evers, the governor, an edict, dated the 19th of 
October, 1567, ordering all those of the reformed religion, 
living in the country but not subjects of the king, to leave 
it, both themselves and their families, in three days, under 
pain of death and the confiscation of their property. The 
measm-e did not attain the end proposed; the pastors, 
faithful to theii' duty, continued their evangelical labours 
in secret. Two of them, it is true, having been discovered, 
were cast into prison, where they remained more than four 

* See, on this subject, the end of the sixteenth chapter. 



years : after which, on the urgent remonstrances made at 
court by the minister Galatee, and in the name of the 
churches of the marquisate, they were set at liberty. 

The 5'ear 1572 was now arrived. If we except some 
arbitrary and rigorous acts, occurring from time to time, as 
well as an habitual restraint and inspection, the Yaudois 
and reformed churches, as well in the marquisate as of the 
valleys, and of Piedmont properly so called, enjoyed some 
degree of tranquillity. The news of the approaching mar- 
riage of the sister of the king of France with the young 
king of IS'avarre, who was at the head of the Protestant 
party in Prance, seemed to indicate a reconciliation in the 
minds of the two great parties, and to be the omen of a 
better future; when, all at once, at the beginning of 
September, the report of the horrible massacres committed 
over the whole extent of that kingdom passed over the 
mountains with the raj)idity of the wind, and filled the 
hearts of all the reformed with anguish and terror. All the 
persons of greatest note and influence in the ranks of their 
brethi'en had been perfidiously murdered, most of them in 
their beds, on that detestable night of St. Bartholomew. 
The butchery was continued on the following days.^'' 

The lieutenant-governor of the king's domains in Pied- 
mont, Louis de Birague, had also received orders to put to 
death the principal members of the reformed church in his 
government; but it was decided. to put off their execution, 
owing, we are happy to believe, to the judicious and cha- 
ritable suggestions of the archdeacon of Saluzzo. This 
ecclesiastic had pointed out the complete disagreement 
between these last cruel orders and the preceding ones, 
which enjoined the release of the two ministers, and a 
tolerant and mild mode of dealing with the reformed. He 
had, therefore, proposed to proceed no further than arrest- 
ing the principal persons, saying that they could be 
executed at any time afterwards, if his majesty required it. 
This prudent and humane advice was adopted ; but on the 
first arrests, the greater part of the suspected persons with- 
drew and retired to some place of safety. A royal message, 
enjoining the authorities to put a stop to every execution, 
if it were not too late, and to adhere to the preceding 

* It is believed that more than a himch-ed thousand Huguenots (the name 
given in France to the reformed) were massacred on that occasion. 


ordinances relating to the reformed, arrived a few days 
after, and put things on the same footing as before. 

The news of the enormities of Saint Bartholomew were 
no sooner Iviio-wn in Piedmont (subject to the duke of Savoy) 
than the zealous papists made great demonstrations of joy, 
and taunted the reformed, telling them that their God was 
no more and their ruin was at hand. The language of 
Castrocaro, the governor of the valleys, caused the people 
great anxiety. They accordingly lost no time in removing 
their families and most valuable effects to their accustomed 
hiding-places in the moimtains. The men alone remained 
on the watch in their homes, their hearts oppressed, and 
finding repose only in praj-er; but the duke, who ap- 
peared not to approve of the system of assassination bj- 
which France was sullied, no sooner became aware of the 
distrust of the Yaudois, than he assui^d them of his pacific 
disposition, and invited them to return to their dwellings 
and resume their occupations, which they did. 

At tills jimcture, the governor of the French territory on 
the other side the Alps, Louis de Bii^ague, attempted to 
deprive the inhabitants of the Yaudois vallej' of Perosa 
(which came under the dominion of France in 1562) of the 
public exercise of their religion. The churches remon- 
strated, supporting themselves on the fact that the king, 
on their annexation to France, had recognised their privi- 
leges and liberties both ecclesiastical and political, and 
guaranteed their exercise. ISTot being able to persuade 
them to yield, Bii^ague had recourse to force ; yet fearing 
lest the Yaudois valleys, which still remained under the 
house of Savoy, should succour their brethren in distress, 
he obtained an injunction from the duke against their inter- 
ference. But while the brave Yaudois, faithful to their 
traditions, and the examples they had so often given, 
expressed in their reply their settled intention to respect 
their sovereign's will in all that regarded his interest and 
his glory, they showed themselves not less decided to serve 
God invariably, and to maintain by every means in their 
power the religion that was menaced in the rights and per- 
sons of their brethren of the valley of Perosa. The new 
governor for the king of France, Charles de Bii^ague, imme- 
diately renouncing the measures of persuasion which his 
deceased brother had attempted, assembled his troops, and 

L 2 


in July, 1573, made an attack on the village of Saint- 
Germain. Five poor villagers were immediately taken 
prisoners, and conducted to Pinerolo. Some days after, 
they were condemned to be led back to their own neigh- 
bourhood, and there to be hung. The very day on which 
these live men were seized, the people of Angrogna, led on 
by the valiant Pietro Praschi, rushed from their heights 
into the plain to succour their brethren, and, having joined 
them, repulsed the enemy. In the course of the following 
day, the Yaudois forces were so increased by the quotas of 
all the communes of the valleys, that they were able to 
make head against the two French divisions from Perosa 
and Pinerolo, which assailed them at the same time. After 
upwards of a month had been spent in ineffectual attacks 
and a valiant defence, peace was longed for as much in one 
camp as the other, and accordingly the terms were easily 
settled. To satisfy the claims of propriety, or rather to 
save appearances, it was agreed that the Yaudois of the 
■valley of Perosa should present a petition to obtain peace 
and the exercise of the religion which their fathers, as they 
expressed it, had followed from time immemorial. They 
engaged also to suspend their public worship for a month, 
and, what wa^ more serious, though not irremediable, to 
dismiss their pastor, Guerin.^'* On these conditions, the 
Yaudois of the valley of Perosa obtained the preservation 
and guarantee of their customs, and particularly of the 
treaty made between the duke of Savoy, their ancient lord, 
and the Yaudois valleys, of which they formed a part. In 
this manner terminated, to the satisfaction of all parties, 
the conflict called the war of La Ptadde, from the name of 
the officer who commanded the Prench troops. 

During these troubles, and in the vicinity of the dis- 
turbed districts, the Yaudois church, by the zeal of this 
same pastor Guerin, whom his people sacrificed for the 
sake of peace, had obtained a remarkable moral success, 
which was, without doubt, the cause of his removal. 

Pramol, the different hamlets of which occupy the centre 
of a solitary valley to the north-west of Saint- Germain, 
between the Sea, or ridge, of Angrogna, towards the south, 
and the last ramifications of the mountains of the valley of 

* Guerin, nevertheless, was not lost to tlie valleys j lie only took charge of 
another parish. 


San Martino to the north — Praniol had hitherto contained 
"u-ithin its precincts some papists and a parish priest ; hut 
Guerin having gone thither one Sunday to celebrate divine 
service, adfc'ssed the priest who had just finished the mass, 
and asked him if he had the courage to maintain that the 
mass he had chanted was good ? The poor man appearing 
greatly embarrassed at this appeal, Gueiin, who did not 
wish it to be thought that he would take advantage of an 
adversary imprepared and siu'prised, left him, saying that 
on the following Simday he would demonstrate by the 
word of God, and even by the missal he made use of in 
chanting the mass, that it was full of en'ors. On the fol- 
lowing Sunday, when the minister came to Pramol, he 
found neither priest nor mass. The pope's servant had 
fled from the combat. Guerin, in a conversation Avith the 
forsaken flock, urged them to admit light into their con- 
sciences, and offered to be their guide in the study of the 
word of salvation. These men, already half-persuaded, 
resorted assiduously to his house at La Balma, between 
Pramol and Saint-Germain, and in a little time all declared 
themselves for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The 
evangelical population being considerably increased by this 
conversion of the papists of the valley, Pramol was from 
that time formed into a parish, and provided A\ith a special 

On the occasion of the troubles of Perosa, and the 
succour which the Yaudois of the valleys of Lucema, 
Angrogna," and San Martino had brought to their brethren 
in distress, Castrocaro renewed his measui-es of severity; 
but the favour of the duchess caused them to be revoked, 
or at least weakened their effect. This was the last time 
that ^largaret of France, duchess of Savoy, gave to the 
despised and oppressed Yaudois a signal proof of her 
benevolent regard. This enlightened and compassionate 
princess dared to undertake and maintain the arduous 
office of a mediator till her death, which took place the 19th 
of October, 1574. It was no doubt to her, under God, 
that the Yaudois owed the comparatively mild conditions 
which were granted them diuing the stormy period, 
marked by the persecution and death of so many of their 
reformed brethren in Prance, Spain, Italy, and elsewhere. 
After the death of the duchess, Castrocaro' s credit dimi- 


nished rapidly at court ; for every one knew that, though 
she had sought to temper his zeal against the Yaudois, yet 
it was to her that he was indebted for his nomination, and 
for retaining the government. Expressions of discontent 
were heard in every quarter. The lords of the valleys, 
who had seen with so much regret their authority weak- 
ened, and their position lowered by his elevation, plotted 
against him. An occasion of preferring an accusation soon 
offered itself. An officer of Castrocaro, at the head of a 
troop of soldiers, assassinated, it was said, by his orders, 
a captain Malherbe, who had alwaj^s shoTVTi a coolness 
towards the governor, and, on the contrary, a strong 
attachment to the gentry in the valley. Although a 
Vaudois, captain Malherbe was always esteemed hj the 
duke for his valoiu*. The relations of the deceased having 
made a complaint, and the lords seconding it to the utmost 
of their power, the cause of Castrocaro took an unhappy 
turn for him. He strove for some time, it is true, against 
his adversaries, among whom he counted the archbishop of 
Turin, who was irritated because, in spite of his secret 
promises, he had not reduced even a single Yaudois com- 
mune to embrace popery, nor deprived the Yaudois of any 
of their rights. It was in vain that, in order to regain the 
prelate's good graces, he attempted to re-establish tithes in 
favour of certain priests, and dexterously to support the 
Jesuit Yanini, who was too feeble, notwithstanding his 
presumption, to contend in public with the pastors; it 
was in vain that, to render himself of importance, he 
sanctioned unfavourable rumours, and sowed disquiet among 
the Yaudois, that he might blacken them in his reports : 
the fall of this clever adventurer was resolved upon. 

A new prince had taken the direction of affairs ; Charles 
Emmanuel, at the age of nineteen, succeeded his father, 
Emmanuel Philibert, who died the 30th of August, 1580. 
Having no reason for upholding a man who was justly 
accused of malversation, the abuse of power, rapine, and 
even of murder, as much by those he governed as by his 
equals, the young duke consented to his arrest, and en- 
trusted it to the count of Lucerna, whom he nominated 
governor in his stead. Castrocaro ended his days in 

About this time, and for a series of years, the Yaudois 


churclics of Daiipliine, situated to the west and north of 
the Piedmontese YaUcys, in those, namely, of Queiras, 
Chateau-Dauphin, Cesane, Oulx, and others besides, were 
often assailed, and so ill-treated by the papists, that, in 
some places, they could onh' assemble by night to attend to 
religious worship ; and when these churches, asjiiring to 
the measui'e of liberty then general in France, endeaYoured 
to shake oif the tyranny of their Roman Catholic neigh- 
bours, Yiolent means were employed for their destniction, 
and ^ so much the greater alacrity, as the position of 
their elcYated and retired Yalleys rendered it im2)ossible to 
obtain the help of their distant brethren. The aid of 
their allies and co-religionists of the Piedmontese Yalleys 
was not howeYer wanting, and often extricated them from 
the greatest difficulties. But perhaps the zeal with wliich 
thcY hastened to succour their brethren in distress dege- 
nerated sometimes into a passion for war; but we shall 
not follow the Yaliant captain Praschi and his companions 
in the contests they maintained together with and for their 
brethren of Dauphine ; for, after much blood had been spilt 
on both sides in Yarious encounters, tilings assumed the 
position which they had before. 

In 1592, the Yaudois Yalle^^s, which had enjoyed a con- 
siderable share of tranquillity for some years, were suddenly 
occupied, as well as a part of the plain, by a Prench army, 
under the orders of the sire de Lesdiguieres, an able and 
courageous general, who had lately taken Upper Dauphine 
fr'om the leaguers, or Catholic party. During their occujja- 
tion, this general fortified Bricherasco, at the entry of the 
Yalley of Lucerna, re-established the castle in the latter place, 
and pulled doAYu those of La Torre and Perosa. The gentry 
and inhabitants of the Yalleys were forced to take an oath of 
fidelity to the king of France. They did it with reluctance, 
after many remonstrances, and a refusal at first. The country 
was occupied only two years. At the end of 1594, Lesdi- 
guieres was obliged to retreat, haYing lost the important 
post of Bricherasco, and the duke again took possession of 
this part of his domains. But, as if it had not been enough 
for the poor Yaudois to haYe been biu'dened with quartering 
soldiers and military contributions, with haYing enduiTd 
all kinds of eYil, eYen pillage and incendiarism,^'" it was for 

* La ToiTe, diiring the siege of Bricherasco, by the duke, was sucldeiily 


a while in contGiiiplation to punish them for the oath they had 
taken to the crown of France, at the same time as their lords 
and other papists did, to whom, nevertheless, it was never 
impnted as a crime. Happily, there were conscientious men 
in the duke's council, who, knowing that the Yaudois had 
in the first place taken advice at Turin, and that they had 
acted as they had done with the tacit authority of the 
duchess (the duke was then fighting in Provence), and her 
council, succeeded in their explanations and apologies, 
though not without difficulty. 

The noise of anns, the tumult of the soldiery, the com- 
plaints which arose on their passing through the country, 
were succeeded by the sound of animated voices — a tumult 
of ecclesiastics, monks, and priests, declaiming, complaining, 
urging, deafening, disputing, recriminating, sometimes in- 
sulting, and, what is worse, fomenting hatred, distrust, and 
divisions, ha^dng recourse to deception and intimidation, and 
even to persecution, which they accomplished in the silent 
obscurit}^ of dungeons. The young duke had, it is true, 
in passing through the valle}^ of Lucerna,* encouraged his 
faithful Yaudois subjects by saying, — "Be faithful to me 
and I will be a good prince and even a good father to 3^ou ; 
as to liberty of conscience and the exercise of your religion, 
I wish to make no innovation ; I will make no alteration in 
the mode of living to which you have hitherto been accus- 
■^omed ; and if any persons attempt to trouble you, come to 
me, and I will see to it." But the duke was not able to refuse 
his clergy authority to send a mission, and even regular 
missions to the valleys ; and nothing more was necessary to 
create troubles and sufferings in abundance among the 

The archbishop of Turin visited the vallej'S with a 
numerous retinue. Great eff'ects were looked for from his 
presence. The Yaudois, it was thought, dazzled by the 
splendour that surrounded a prince of the church, would 
throw themselves at his feet; or at least, if they still 
delayed their passage to popery for a while, they would 
lend a favourable ear to missionaries under his. high 

assaulted, pillaged, and partly bru-ned, by a division of Spaniards, who, on 
their return, also set on fire various parts of San Giovanni. 

* "Wlien Charles Emmanuel was on a journey to the fortress of Mirebouc, a 
deputation of the Vaudois waited upon him at Villar, to pay him homage ; and 
on that occasion he uttered these excellent sentiments. 


patronage, and appointed by him. Some of these mission- 
aries were Jesuits in the Yalley of Lucema ; others, reYcrend 
Capuchins, in the Yalleys of Perosa and San Martino. 

These serYants of the . pope did not spare themselYes. 
They were eYerywhere, in public assemblies, in pnYate 
houses, in shops, in fields, on the roads. They entered into 
discussions with eYOiy one, passing as rapidly from one 
hearer to the next as from one subject to another. There 
was nothing but perpetual ^Yrangling. The ministers had 
yielded to the temptation to reply ; they OYen thought that 
their honour and their office engaged them to take part in 
these contests. But they soon perceiYed that they were 
spent in words, Yrithout any real edification, owing to the 
Yersatility of their adYersaries in changing the ground of 
debate, when they felt that which they were upon failing 
them. The shafts of truth were scattered without hitting 
the mark. The ministers then resolved only to hold discus- 
sions at regular and public sittings, on a subject announced 
with precision, and they kept to this resolution. The first 
of these disputations was held at San GioYanni, in 1596, at, 
which the count of Lucema presided. The turn it took 
was so decidedly against the Jesuits, that the count being 
urged to speak his sentiments and to give his reasons to 
the minister, had recoui^se to an CYasion, and precipitately 
closed the debate. "^ 

In the Yalleys of Perosa and San ^Mai-tino, the Capuchin 
fathers were equally busy, especially as they felt themselves 
supported by having the duJie's ti^oops in the neighbour- 
hood, who were fighting in the vale of Clusone with those 
of the king of Prance. Among other things, they succeeded 
so far that the governor of Pinerolo undertook to deprive 
a large nimiber of evangelicals at Pinache of the use of their 
temple, ravaged the village, and sent the father and brother 
of the pastor Ughet, who had escaped them, to prison at 
Turin. Others also were sent, and many died there. They 
obtained their release with difficult}', and rarely Tvithout 
abjuring. The pastor of Pravilhelm, Antoine Bonjoiir,who 
was shut up in the fortress of Pevel, was more fortunate, 

* " Kyou were disputing," he said, " about the qualities of a good horse or 
a good sword, I would give you my opuiion, for I understand something about 
such things ; but I do not understand youi' controversies, and therefore do 
not wish to intermeddle with them. Besides, I must tell you that I have his 
highness's orders to go immediately to Tui'in," etc. 

L 3 


for, having let himself down the wall, he gained the woods, 
and then the mountains, and returned in peace to Bobbio, 
his native place, where he was settled as pastor till his death. 

The Capuchins, who were sent to the valleys of Perosa 
and San Martino, being filled with presumption, wished 
also to have the honour of a public disputation at Saint- 
Germain, in 1598, but they had not much reason to con- 
gratulate themselves on the result. They then had recourse 
to a more skilful method for making proselytes, and less 
likely to compromise themselves. They informed the evan- 
gelicals with an air of mystery, that there were serious and 
alarming designs on foot against them, which would sud- 
denly be carried into effect. This confidential communica- 
tion, which they begged them to keep secret, lest any harm 
should come to its authors for their charitable imprudence, 
had no other object, they said, but to induce those who 
were interested to turn to the right side before it was too 
late. These rumours, it can scarcely be doubted, occa- 
sioned many fears, but they had not the effect which their 
authors expected. 

The monkish missionaries, being dissatisfied "with their 
fruitless eff'orts, thought of another method, the force of 
which they perceived, and which from that time has been 
too much practised to the detriment of the honour of those 
who use it, and of the religion which could sanction it. 
They attached themselves to persons in debt, or in bad cir- 
cumstances, burdened with a family, and of little integrity, 
promising them a sum of money, and further assistance, if 
they abjured the gospel. They also promised a full pardon 
to persons who, by their crimes', were exposed to the ven- 
geance of the laws, if they would go to mass. This immoral 
expedient was the most successful. The Vaudois would 
have consoled themselves for the loss of unworthy men Avho 
were only a disgrace to their church, if their children had 
not also been dra"s^Ti ^vith them into the abyss of error by 
their apostasy. Two persons of a higher class, one of Pra- 
mol, the other of the valley of San Martino, also abjured : 
the first, in order to avoid the punishment which threatened 
him for abuse of authority and acts of extortion ; the second 
from vanity, being flattered by the attentions of the gentry 
and magistrates of the country. These defections served at 
least to show the Yaudois into what new dangers pride, 


the loYC of money, and every immoral act, miglit precipi- 
tate them. 

Towards the end of the year 1599, the duke, having 
taken a jom^ney to France, the adversaries of the Yaudois 
thought it was a favourable opportunity for molesting them. 
They ^-ished to oblige them to keep the popish festivals in 
some places where it had never been the practice to- do so, 
and they shut np the schools in other parts. On the least 
resistance, the people were dragged to prison, from which 
they could be released only by paying a fine, or by promis- 
ing to go to mass. An enterprising man, moreover, named 
Ubeiiin Braide, was appointed parish priest at La ToiTe, 
who claimed fi'om the evangelicals the tithes from which 
they had been freed since 1561, and on their refusal caused 
their goods to be seized by the officers of justice. The 
irritation produced in many quarters was excessive. An 
outbreak was expected. But a deputation sent to the duke, 
who was then in Savoy, produced a redress of these griev- 
ances. The priest, having been defeated in liis claims, a 
calm seemed to be restored. But some ill-ach-ised young 
men, by their reprehensible conduct, reldndled the fire that 
was scarcely concealed among the ashes. One evening they 
terrified the priest by their cries, after he had retired to 
his parsonage ; and fearing some act of vengeance, he took 
refuge with a gentleman in the neighboiu'hood. 

The afikir was regarded as criminal. An investigation 
took place. The young men, who were well known, were 
to be conducted to Turin. On the anival of a detachment 
of archers, they took to flight. Xot making their appear- 
ance in court, they were condemned for contumacy, and 
banished from the duke's territories. Tliis event was a 
source of great sorrow to the pastors, the watchful guardians 
of the public morals, and a prolonged source of trouble, and 
even of offences and crimes ; for these youths, being con- 
strained to flee from their homes, and having no regular 
means of subsistence, often claimed by force what they 
could not obtain by good-will. Some abandoned people, 
many of whom were papists, took advantage of the general 
confiision to commit crimes in secret, which they hoped 
would be attributed to these outlaws. 

A melancholy event at the beginning of this century 
showed the extent of that popish arrogance which would 


not allow an evangelical Christian even the right of answer- 
ing, in his own defence, those who disputed the excellence 
of his religion. A worthy merchant of La Torre, named 
Conpin, being at Asti, in 1601, for the fair, was led on, one 
evening at supper, by the questions of the other guests, to 
avow himself a Yaudois, and to deny the real presence of 
the Saviour in the eucharist- Being denounced as a crimi- 
nal, although he kept within the limits of defence allowed 
by the treaty of 1561, he was thrown into prison, from 
which no representations made by his relations and friends, 
and by the churches, even to the duke himself, could gain 
his release. The inquisition would not let go its prey till 
deprived of life, nor even then ; for when the martyr was 
found dead in his cell, his remains were publicly burned. 
During the two years of his captivity, this humble and sin- 
cere Cliristian was not shaken in his faith for a moment, 
but edified to the last those who were admitted to see him. 
He was astonished himself at the unexpected power which 
was communicated to him, and at the clear, precise, and 
evangelical answers with which God inspired him in the 
presence of his judges. 

The same year on which Coupin was arrested, that is, in 
1601, an order was given to all the evangelicals of the mar- 
quisate of Saluzzo"^"' to quit the domains of his highness 
within two months from the publication of the edict. They 
were allowed to dispose of their property within the same 
period. Alas ! several gave up their faith and became 
papists ; nevertheless, a great number of families preferred 
.T)beying God, and passed over to France or Switzerland. 
Some succeeded in settling themselves in the valleys. The 
ancient Vaudois churches of the marquisate, at Pravilhelm, 
and others in the mountains, were at last left in repose, 
after having shared for some time the general tribulation. 

The efforts of the papists did not stop here. They 
endeavoured, both by flatteries and threats, to induce the 
members of the Vaudois church to abjure who were settled 
in the town of Lucerna, as well as in those of Bibbiana, 
Campiglione, and Fenile, on the confines of Piedmont, where 
they did not enjoy the right of holding their worship in 
public. Ponte, the governor of the province, in order to 

* This marquisate was ceded to Piedmont by France in that year, by the 
treaty of Lyons. 


intimidate them, gave notice to the recusants bj' edicts 
issued with the greatest publicity, of the expiration of their 
tenn for remaining in the coimtiy. The archbishop of 
Tiu'in, who "vvas on the spot, called the parties interested 
before him, flattered them with smooth speeches, or sought 
to shake their faith by arguments, which, no doubt, he 
thought plausible. For this latter purpose, and to please 
them, without maturely considering the danger his cause 
would inciu-, he even challenged a public disputation, 
which took place at San Giovanni between his delegate 
Marchesi, professor and rector of the Jesuits at Timn, and 
the pastor, Auguste Gros, an ancient popish professor, con- 
verted long before, and a man of talent, infoiination, and 
great piety. This dispute, which confii-med the Yaudois 
who were present in their faith, Avas not renewed, though 
the minister was perfectly willing, as it had not produced 
the results which the archbishop hoped for. 

The town of Lucema not having been included in the 
treaty of 1561, the Yaudois who had settled there and did 
not abjiu"e their religion, had to fix themselves elsewhere. 
Those who were settled at Bibbiana, Campiglione, and 
Penile, conformably to the treaty, would not be persuaded 
to leave them. To overcome this repugnance, recourse 
was had to a method which only priests, more concerned 
about their own interests than their sovereign's honour, 
could devise. They persuaded the duke to interfere per- 
sonally ^ith the most respectable persons, and to add to 
his preceding acts the weight of his direct influence ; the 
urgency of kind expressions ; and the irresistible authority 
of a request fi'om his lips. L^nthinking men ! not to see 
that on the most favourable supposition, that of success, 
the prince would lose more than he gained ; that by 
inducing his subjects to deny their faith, he would shake 
his own throne, since fidelity to a sovereign, just and legiti- 
mate as it is, cannot be more so than that which is due to 
God, and, moreover, is only strong and dui'able so far as it 
rests on religious belief. And in case of a result unfa- 
vourable to their schemes, that of resistance on the part of 
a Yaudois to the moral pressure exercised upon him by 
his prince, would not the majesty of the throne be com- 
promised by a fi'uitless attempt on the conscience of a 
subject, and the person of the priace be exposed to a severe 


judgment from him who would have wished to be always 
able to respect it ? 

On an appointed day, four persons of the greatest con- 
sideration among the Yaudois of Bibbiana, who, by their 
influence, according to what their adversaries said, had 
hitherto rendered the united efforts of the iiTitated governor 
and the insinuating archbishop useless, were sent for to 
Turin, in the name of the prince, and introduced, one after 
another, into his presence. The fii^st, named Valentin 
Boule, or BoUa, after listening to the affectionate language 
of his higliness, expressive of an earnest desire that he 
should embrace his religion, respectfully supplicated his 
sovereign to permit him to remain faithful to God, accord- 
ing to his word. Is it necessary to add, that the duke 
ceased to urge him, and allowed him to withdraw, saying, 
'^ You would certainly have given me great pleasure in com- 
plying with my remonstrance, but I do not wish to do 
violence to your conscience." Yalentin Bella having 
departed without being able to exchange a word with the 
three others, it was falsely represented to them that their 
brother and friend had 3T.elded to the duke's desire, and 
pledged himself to abjure. Deceived by this account, and 
disconcerted by the apparent defection of him whom they 
considered as the most faithful, they promised, one after 
another, to do what was desired so ardently. A part of 
their friends at Bibbiana followed their example ; yet 
several afterwards returned to the church. 

Some time after, the same expedient was tried with some 
influential persons among the Yaudois of Pinache, in the 
valley of Perosa, after the governor Ponte and the arch- 
bishop had used their utmost efforts with the people in 
general. The three Yaudois who appeared before the duke, 
namel}', Michael Gilles, Jean Micol, and Jean Bouchard, 
remained firm in the faith, as did also the greater part of 
their brethren of Perosa and of the Yal Clusone, in sj^ite 
of the various means which were set at work to inveigle 
them into 2)opery. In order to seduce the poor during the 
great dearth in the year 1602, the archbishoj) promised 
food in plenty for those who would go to mass. He spared, 
in fact, neither corn, nor money ; yet he made little 'pro- 
gress by this immoral enticement. He also prevented 
those Yaudois from being employed as reapers, in the 


plain, who were not proyided with a certificate signed by 

One more example of the indirect means of conversion 
employed by the papists may be given. Under the pre- 
tence that the numerous Yaudois whose houses were si- 
tuated on the great road along the Perosa gave offence to 
the passengers, they caused an edict to be issued which for- 
bade them ti'om dwelling there any longer, and ordered them 
to retire to the other side of the river, towards Praraol. It 
must be added, however, that on the urgent remonstrance 
and prayers, proceeding both from the victims of the mea- 
sure and fi'om their neighbour's who belonged to the Roman 
chiu'ch, the excution of it was at fii^st susjiended, and 
finally abandoned. 

It will be imderstood, moreover, that the government 
and the duke himself, frequently impelled by the contri- 
vances of the priests to measures and acts that ^^'ere of little 
avail for the conversion of the Yaudois to popeiy, and not 
appreciating the motives of conscience which prompted the 
latter to resistance, were ill-satisfied with the small heed 
given to their desires and wishes. The troubles occasioned 
by the young men who were outlawed for their imprudent 
conduct to the priest of La Torre, and were now wandering 
fugitives, living at hazard from day to day on charity or 
plunder — ti'oubles and disorders, which the pastors could 
not prevent — were represented to the prince as s^Tiiptoms 
of revolt against his authority, and were made use of to ex- 
cite him to the most rigorous measures. Even the destruc- 
tion of the churches was talked of. 

The Yaudois, having received from various quarters 
advice to keep themselves on their guard, comprehended 
all the greatness of the danger; but instead of having 
recourse to means of human defence, they had only one 
thought, that of imploring the assistance (so often expe- 
rienced) of their heavenly Protector, being fully persuaded 
of the ti'uth, that " except the Lord keep the city, the 
watchman waketh but in vain," (Psa. cxxvii. 1.) They 
exhorted the people to repentance, and to amend their 
ways in several respects. The ablest pastors for the occa- 
sion visited the chiux-hes, papng special attention to those 
that were in the most unsound state. They also adcbcssed 
the least culpable of the banished, and appealed to their 


better sentiments. More than all, they humbled them- 
selves by a solemn fast, on the 11th and 12th of August, 
1602. Shortly after, the governor of Turin, with the 
provost-general, and a great company of officers of justice, 
arrived in the valley of Lucerna. They came to jndge the 
banished individuals, whom the communes were ordered to 
give up. In place of these men, they mshed to send a 
petition for his highness to the governor' which he refused. 
He published some severe orders, and departed.^* 

The Yaudois then had recourse to the mediation of count 
Charles, of Lucerna, principal lord of one of the valleys, 
and who was in favour at court. They also sent a deputa- 
tion, charged with presenting a petition, in writing, to his 
highness, from the valleys, in which they set the facts in 
their true light, complained of the calumnies by which 
their enemies aimed to render them odious in the eyes of 
their prince, and appealed Avith confidence to his bene- 
volence, as well as to his high sense of justice. But, who 
can believe it ? to be presented to the prince, the petition 
required to be modified in its form, and even in its sub- 
stance. They were forced to express themselves, as if 
guilty of culpable actions ; but, in spite of these alterations, 
nay, perhaps in consequence of them, its success was very 

Wliile the churches were preparing to draw up a new 
address to the duke, some facts occuiTed which were not 
adapted to re-establish tranquillity. The Yaudois of 
Pinache, in the valley of Perosa, not having been able for a 
long time to obtain justice in reference to a temple of which 
the use was disputed, seized on that of Dublon, to which 
they had an equal right, giving up to the papists, in return, 
their claim to the former. Threats and some vexation fol- 
lowed, but without any disastrous issue. At Lucerna, on a 
market-day in March, 1603, six of the outlaws were recog- 
nised. Being surrounded and attacked in a narrow street, 
they made their way tlirough by force of arms, killing, 
amongst others, a captain Crespin. One of them having 
fractured his thigh in leaping from a wall, was taken, 
tried, and condemned to be quartered. A company of 
infantry were brought to attend the execution, and after- 

* On Ms arrival at Tmin he was arrested and disgraced, but for reasons 
foreign to our history. 


wards remained for several months, to protect Lucema 
against the dreaded attacks of the outlaws. 

In the month of April, the valleys received the happy 
news, that, through the intercession of coimt Charles of 
Lucerna, the duke Charles Emmanuel had granted the 
gTeater part of their requests, especially the pardon of the 
outlaws, with the exception of some, who were specified. 
This result gave them great joy, but only for a short time; 
for it was soon perceived that all difficulties were not 
removed. How was it possible that this should be the 
case, when it seemed to be an admitted i)rinciple, in trans- 
actions Avith the Yaudois, to consider the concessions and 
promises made to them as matters that seemed at the 
time mi avoidable, and only granted until an opportunity 
should arise for revoldng them, or hindering their per- 
formance ? 

The body of infantiy stationed at Lucema brought 
trouble into the valley by an expedition against Bobbio, in 
which it might have been cut in pieces by the mass of 
people it drew together, and whom the prudent efforts of 
some of the Yaudois could scarcely restrain. These military 
disturbers of the public peace might think themselves 
fortunate, after the flight of their captain, and the deplo- 
rable death of some of their comrades, that they were 
allowed to give up their arms and surrender themselves 
prisoners. In the end, at the request of comit Emmanuel, 
of Luceraa, and out of respect for the sovereign, they were 
set at liberty, and received back their arms a few days 

At length, after a new mission of the count Charles to 
the valleys, in company A\ith the provost-general of justice, 
a removal of all difficulties was effected. A temple was 
granted to the people of Pinache. The outlaws were par- 
doned, T\ith the exception of five, and the valleys engaged 
to pay a fixed sum, by way of amends for insults to the 
jDopish temples, which were attributed to the Yaudois. 

Days of peace succeeded to the melancholy times that 
had just passed. They were not marked by any extraor- 
dinary events. The church of La Torre enlarged its temple, 
notwithstanding the opposition of the papists, thanks to 
the fiiendly inteiposition of the duke. In the year 1605, 
many people were canied off in the valleys by dysentery, 


among others Dominique Yignaux, the pastor of Yillaro, a 
native of Penasac, in Gascony, a noble by birth and beha- 
viour, of pure morals, a man of letters, a good theologian, 
and generally emploj^ed in the more important affairs of 
the churches. To him was confided the task of collecting 
the original writings of the Yaudois, in the Eomance or 
Yaudois language, and in Latin, ^'' which were transmitted 
to Pierre Perrm, pastor in Dauphine, agreeably to the re- 
solution of the synod of France, to assist him in his 
researches on the history of the Yaudois. 

In 1611, the vallej^s were alarmed by the appearance of 
a large body of French troops, in the service of Savoy, who 
remained a month in the valley of Lucerna, and committed 
some excesses there. 

In 1613, and the following year, the Yaudois were them- 
selves called to take up arms for the service of their prince. 
Thej^ furnished several companies of militia, who acquitted 
themselves with credit at the siege of Saint Damian, in 
Yercelli, and elsewhere. They were allowed to meet to- 
gether, morning and evening, to oifer their accustomed 
devotions. In many places, especially in the cities, thejr 
were received with friendship. Their hosts questioned 
them on the points-of their religion, and expressed a desire 
to know the truth ; and some even showed that they were 
not unacquainted with it. But, in more retired places, the 
inhabitants fled at their approach, and feared to furnish 
them with lodgings ; for, as in former ages, j)opisli super- 
stition rejiresented them as one-eyed monsters, and deco- 
rated their mouths with four rows of long, black teeth, 
intended to chew the flesh and bones of little children, 
whom, it was said, they were fond of broiling on the coals. 

The population of San Giovanni increased greatly, and 
being straitened in the locality where they usually per- 
formed Divine service, built a much larger temple. But 
a powerful influence at the court caused it to be closed. f 

* See ch. x., above. 

t Divine ser\-ice was, no donbt, anciently celebrated at San Giovanni, since 
a pastor resided and ministered there specialty ; the count de Raconis himself 
was present at the preaching at SanGiovaimi, in 1560, before the persecution, 
(see GUles, p. 96 ;) and it was most frequently to San Giovanni that the evan- 
gehcals of Lower Piechnont, Campiglione, Bil)biana, etc., came to partake of 
the Lord's supper, of which Gilles has given the special proofs, (p. 195.) 

It is true that the treaty of 1561 does not mention San Giovanni among the 
parishes that had a right to a temple, but the liberty of assembling there for 
pubhc worship had been granted to the members of that chm-ch. It would 


The same spirit deprived the Vaudois at Campiglione of 
the use of their ancient cemetery adjoining; that of the 
papists. The valleys had even to pay six thousand half- 
ducats to prevent the employment of more severe measures, 
occasioned by an attempt at interment by force of arms 
in the disputed cemetery. 

The payment of this considerable sum very nearly pro- 
duced disunion in the three valleys ; those of Perosa and 
San Martino having refused to pay their quota to that of 
Lucema. They were not, however, slow to perceive that, 
if they followed out this selfish system, they would become 
isolated from one another, and offer an easy prey to their 
common enemy, who was always on the watch. In fact, 
the valley of Lucema having to pay to the authorities a 
fi'esh sum, which was claimed without any reasons founded 
on justice, it transferred to the ducal chamber (rather by 
coercion, it pretended) its claims on the contributions which 
were due to it from the other valleys. The Vaudois com- 
munes thus found themselves constrained to pay, by fear of 
the supreme authority, what they should have consented to 
give from good-^\T.ll, out of love to their brethren and the 
common welfare. 

The officers of the chamber incessantly claimed the pay- 
ment of the debt. In a general assembly of the overseers 
of the communes of the valley of Perosa, called to clear 
themselves from a grave charge, the abstraction of accoimts 
sealed and left in trust with some of them, the papists 
(who were alone involved, since to them alone the ab- 
stracted documents had been entrusted) advised the Yau- 
dois to unite with them in preparing a joint petition, in 
which they should state the demands of both parties, and 
should ofi'er in compensation a round sum of three thou- 
sand half-ducats, to be paid by all jointly. The Taudois 
overseers flattered themselves with obtaining, by their 
union ^vith the papists and the protection of the distin- 
guished patrons whom their friends had at court, a remis- 
sion of their debt and a confiiTaation of their liberties. 
They hoped, also, by this step, which appeared to them 
well plamied, to wipe out the remembrance of some little 

seem that the locality appropriated to meetings for worship, was in the dis- 
trict of Appia, since'the public disputations in 1596 and 1602 were held there, 
as mentioned by Gilles. (pp. 306, 3-i9.) 


acts of resistance to authority which had occurred in main- 
taining their privileges. These acts were, the deliverance 
of the minister Chanforan, who was being removed from 
his post and taken to Pinerolo, for having displeased the 
reverend Capuchins of Perrier, in a debate with them ; and 
the opposition which the Yaudois of Pinache had made to 
the officers of justice in a distant locality, who, not being 
aware that custom had authorized the Yaudois to work 
within their limits on the popish holidays, were about 
to apprehend some workmen, who were occupied in build- 
ing a belfry. Being carried away by the fair speeches 
of their popish colleagues, the Yaudois overseers gave their 
signatures, but without the knowledge of the pastors and 
people of the churches, to a petition, in which the cause 
they professed to serve occupied a very insignificant place. 
PuU of blind confidence, they left to the governor of the 
castle, a wily papist, the conduct of the negotiations and 
the verbal communications. 

Is it wonderful that the result deceived their hopes and 
threw them into new perplexities ? The answer, which 
favoured the papists, put the tliree thousand half-ducats 
entirely to the account of the evangelicals; moreover, it 
condemned them to demolish six of their temples, under 
the pretence that they were without the limits, which was 
not the case. Such were the bitter fruits of the divided 
state of the valleys, and the union of the Yaudois with the 
enemies of their religion. But the people of the valley of 
Perosa had not reached the end of their sufierings. An 
explanatory memorial, in which they requested milder con- 
ditions, by some fatal negligence was not presented in time. 
The order to demolish at least the belfry of Pinache having 
been repeated in the interval by the governor of Pinerolo, 
without its being attended to, the Yaudois relying on their 
petition, and taking no further trouble about it, while their 
enemies laboured in an underhand manner against them, 
the prince, to whom they had been misrepresented, pre- 
pared to punish them severel5^ This took place in 1623. 

At the beginning of 1624, a peremptory order to demo- 
lish the six temples reached the communes, accompanied by 
threats, that, if not immediately complied with, recourse 
would be had to arms. Towards the end of January, a 
regiment of French troops, occuj)ied one of the great 


Yauclois Yillages in the Yalley of Perosa, namely, Saint- 
Germain, to the north-west of Pinerolo, at the opening of 
the Yale of Pramol, on the right bank of the Clusone. 
Very soon after, the whole Yalley was occupied by a total 
force of six or scYcn thousand soldiers. In the pei'plexity 
into which the Yalley of Perosa was thrown by tliis sudden 
iuYasion, the other Yalleys, and CYcn that of Clusone, 
(Pragela,) then belonging to Prance, did not abandon it. 
AMiatcYer obstacles were attempted to be put in the AYay on 
the part of the duke and the lords, numerous detachments 
of resolute men, traYcrsing the mountains coYcred Yrith 
snow, were still continually hastening to the spot fi'om all 
points of the Yalleys. But what reasonable hope could be 
entertained of diiYing out of the countiy an anny so large 
and so well disciplined as the duke's ? Accordingly, they 
were soon obliged to decide on the cruel extremity of 
demolishing the six temples. They consoled themselYcs 
a little with the hope of soon rebuilding them after the 
departui'e of the troops, which had been settled ^Yith Syllan, 
the ducal commissioner. But the count TafB.n, who com- 
manded the army, appeared to consider his mission as by 
no means terminated ; he required the Yaudois to lay down 
theii' arms, and particularly to take down the barricades 
and other means of defence, behind which they were 
enti'enched on the heights of Saint-Germain, at the entrance 
of the Yale of Pramol. Such a demand betrayed his ul- 
terior designs, and they refused to accede to it. A sharp 
skiiToish followed, but, ^^ith all theii' efforts, the papists 
could not force a passage. Their situation was anything 
but adYantageous to themselYes ; they were in the depth of 
winter, badly lodged, and part of them not at all ; often 
-\Yithout fire or shelter, in the midst of the snow, which this 
year was deeper than usual, haYing before them Yigorous 
adYcrsaries, whose numbers had increased continually since 
the assault on the banicades. Under such cii'cimistances, 
a couYcntion was easily concluded between count Taffin and 
the chiefs of the Yalleys, in the presence and by the good 
offices of count Philip, of Lucema. The anny retired, and 
the deputies of all the communes of the Yalley of Perosa 
appeared before his higliness, to make the best apology 
they could, and obtain their pardon, as well as permission 
to rebuild their temples. 


From time to time, the inquisition found means of 
making a victim of some one or other. Its aim was 
chiefly against the converts from popery vrho had taken 
refuge in the valleys. It apprehended them, whenever, 
deceived by apparent peace, they ventured into Piedmont. 
Thus Sebastien Basan died in Turin at the stake, in 1623, 
besides Louis Malherbe who ended his days in prison, in 
1626. And many others groaned for years in dungeons, 
or, after struggling for release, perished most frequently 
the victims of secret outrage, unpitied and unknown ! 

A monk, father Bonaventure, attempted a new kind of 
warfare. His manners were familiar and caressing, and he 
thus made himself agreeable to children, and succeeded in 
carrying off several hojs of ten or twelve years old, in the 
villages below the valley of Lucerna, bordering on Pied- 
mont, (Bibbiana, Penile, Campiglione and others,) where 
from ancient times Yaudois and papists had lived inter- 
mixed. The chikben were never restored to their relations. 
And, whatever steps were taken, no better answer could be 
obtained from the civil authorities than that these acts 
were imputable to none but the monks, and that they 
knew not what to do in the business. 

Many Vaudois, from the same villages in the plain of 
Lucerna were also cast into prison, under the pretence that 
they li\'ed beyond the proper limits, though this was not 
the case. In the measures taken with the senator Barberi 
and his assistants, to deliver the prisoners, we may be 
assured that these pretended officers of justice went beyond 
their commission, and aimed as much, at least, at extorting 
some ransom, and levying contributions, as at indulging 
their religious hatred and that of their friends. 

A threatened invasion of Piedmont by a Prench army, 
under the orders of the marquis d'Uxel, in 1628, gave an 
opportunity to the Yaudois to prove their fidelity to their 
sovereign, and to receive, in their turn, a proof of the full 
confidence they inspired. The guard of many passes of 
their mountains, which were particularly threatened, was 
entrusted to them ; and it was granted to their urgent 
request to serve alone, without being mixed with other 
troops of his highness. Their companies were all com- 
manded by officers taken from their own ranks and chosen 
by them ; the superior officers alone belonged to the regular 


army. Only a small number of engagements took place, 
in which the army of L'xel were worsted, and wliich 
ended in his retreat. 

At this period the earl of Carlisle, ambassador from the 
king of Great Britain to the diike of Savoy, heard from the 
lips of his higliness the testimony of his satisfaction mth 
his fiiithlul subjects of the valleys, while he also avowed 
his fixed intention of giving them proofs of it. 

But though Charles Enunanuel cherished the best senti- 
ments towards the Yaudois, the warm partisans of Rome, 
invested with high dignities, abused their authority and 
the name of their prince, by secretly introducing into the 
valleys the in-econcileable enemies of the evangelical church, 
the pope's light cavalry, the monks. 

Already a similar attempt had been partially made at 
the end of the last century, and had led to the settled 
establishment of the Capuchins at Perrier, a popish town 
in the valley of San Martino. But, this time, nothing less 
was thought of, than to endow every Yaudois commune 
with a convent. To gain the consent of the inhabitants, 
all sorts of methods were adopted without scruple. At 
Bobbio, intrigue predominated ; at Angrogna, ostentation, 
splendour, and threats ; at Eora, violence. The prior of 
Lucerna, Marco Aurelio Horenco, or Rorengo, at the head 
of the priests, the count of Lucerna, the most powerful of 
the lords of the valley, and the count Eighiuo Roero, in 
the name of the government, spared no pains to accomplish 
their object. They even prociu-ed the interference of the 
heir apparent, the prince of Piedmont, Yictor Amadeus. A 
letter was sent in his name to every conunune, in which he 
promised liberal distributions of corn and rice, (the winter 
of 1628, 1629, was severe, and attended with a general 
dearth;) for these provisions and their distributors, who 
were to be monks, he required a house to be provided by 
the commune. But whatever effort was made at Angrogna, 
no hospitality could be obtained for them, not even for a 
single night. After staying some time at Bobbio, Yillaro, 
and Rora, they were obliged to yield to the general ^ill, 
and depart. As they resisted expulsion rather obstinately 
in the last-named place, some women earned them a part 
of the road in their arms. Similar attempts proved abor- 
tive in the valley of Perosa, at Saint- Germain, and Pramol. 


Thus the mass could not be celebrated in any part of the 
Yaudois communes, unless, perhaps, we except San Giovanni 
and the town of La Torre, in which evangelical worship 
was not tolerated. In this last place the monk Bonaven- 
ture, (whom Gilles calls the standard-bearer of the whole 
legion,) collected and settled all his fraternity. It is not 
unimportant to remark here, that at this period the Romish, 
or popish worship, had no officiating minister, nor temple, 
nor altar, in almost the whole region of the Yaudois 
churches of the three valleys. 

The valleys had scarcely recovered from the disquiet 
" which the efforts of the monks and their powerful protec- 
tors had excited, when the arrival of a Prench army before 
Pinerolo, in the spring of 1630, threw them into the great- 
est 23er2)lexity. Marshal Schomberg, who commanded it, 
required prompt submission to his sovereign. The troops 
under his orders pillaged and laid waste the accessible parts 
of the three valleys. He had just reduced Pinerolo and 
its citadel, which had been garrisoned by the Yaudois 
militia. He akeady occupied Ericherasco, within a league 
of San Giovanni, with a thousand horse and fifteen thou- 
sand foot. The last of the four days of deliberation, 
granted very reluctantly to the Yaudois, drew to a close, 
and still they were deliberating. The succour promised by 
his highness, whom they had informed of the danger, was 
not arrived ; on the contrary, a report was abroad that the 
duke had di'awn off his troops behind the Po. By this 
movement the valleys were given up to the enemy. They 
decided, therefore, to submit, conjointly with their papist 
lords, though on the condition that their militia should not 
be obliged to bear arms against his highness out of their 
territory. Among the fifteen articles of capitulation, signed 
and sworn to a little after, there was one which the prior 
of Lucerna, deputed by the clergy of that valley, had 
attempted first to exclude, and then to modifj', but without 
success. It specified, that persons of the 'reformed religion 
should enjoy to the utmost the rights which were guaran- 
teed by the edicts in Prance, as to the exercise of their 
religion, and that no one should trouble them in any manner 
on account of it. With these conditions the three valleys 
would have scarcely known any other evils, during the 
occui^ation of their country by the Prench, which lasted 


for a 5'ear, excepting those occasioned by the continual 
passing of troops from France to Piedmont, and the tran- 
sport of large militarj' stores, if God had not ^^sited them 
with one of the severest trials he had ever sent them, — a 
contagious and epidemic malady, brought, as it appears, 
from Trance by the army, and designated a plag-ue by con- 
temporary historians. 

The first cases were noticed at the beginning of May, 
1630, in the valley of Perosa ; then in that of San Martino ; 
a little after in that of Clusone or Pragela ; and still later 
in the valley of Lucema. The pastors and deputies of the 
churches met at Pramol, to concert measures against so 
terrible an evil, and neglected nothing that could tend to 
check its progress. They provided, amongst other things, 
for the purchase of medicine, as well as for regular and 
sufficient assistance for the poor. It was also their "^^-ish to 
celebrate a general and public fast ; but not seeing how it 
would be possible to do it with solemnity, in the midst of 
such a bustle of troops, \dctuallers, men of business, and 
others, coming and going, they confined themselves to what 
each pastor might effect in his own chiu'ch by exhortations 
to repentance, both in public and private. The malady 
extended its ravages, and raged fuiiously. In certain 
localities, all the houses contained some either dead or 
dying. The want of provisions, which was very sensibly 
felt at the beginning of the year, increased every day, and 
they knew not where to procure a supply. The state of 
the atmosphere contributed also to extend the evil. In 
July and August, the heat was excessive. The latter month 
was the most disastrous : in that short space of time, seven 
pastors were carried off by the plague. Four others died 
in the preceding month ; the twelfth died in the folloT\ing 
month, as he was preparing to set out for Geneva, whither 
he was deputed, in order to obtain new pastors. There 
remained only three, besides one invalid, eighty years old,* 
Happily, by a providential dispensation, they belonged to 
different va'Ueys ; so that each valley having its own pas- 
tor, neither was entirely destitute of religious aid ; and the 
more so because, "s\ithout fearing that death which con- 
tinually threatened them, they multiplied themselves, so to 
I speak, by redoubled zeal in the discharge of their duties. 

* Antoiae Bonjour, the ancient pastor of Pravillielra. 


They travelled from village to village, preached in the open 
air to the healthy, and visited hundreds of dying persons 
in their homes. They were frequently called themselves to 
watch, in their dwellings, at the bedside of beloved rela- 
tions. The only pastor remaining in the valley of Lucerna, 
Pierre Gilles, pastor of La Torre, (author of a highly-valued 
history of the Yaudois churches,^' which we have constantly 
had before us in preparing the present work,) lost no less 
than four sons, full of promise. 

Though the plague was somewhat diminished during the 
winter, it broke out again in the spring, and extended to 
the more elevated villages, which it had before sj)ared. At 
last it ceased all at once in July, 1631, having lasted 
upwards of a year. Half of the population had disappeared. 
The greater part of the husbands living had lost their 
wives, almost all the married women were widows, and 
the unmarried orphans. Grandfathers and grandmothers, 
laden with years, who had before counted with joy their 
numerous children and grandchildren, the support and 
hope of their old age, remained alone. The heart was 
wrung at hearing the cries of little beings, now orphans, 
repeating, in a sad and exhausted tone, the beloved names 
of their parents, whose prolonged absence they could not 
account for. 

The proportion of deaths was nearly the same through- 
out ; it amounted to one-half of the population, both Vau- 
dois and papists. The valley of San Martino estimated its 
loss at fifteen hundred Vaudois, and one hundred papists ; 
that, of Perosa at more than two thousand Yaudois ; the 
church of Rocheplatte at five hundred and fifty, which 
must be added to the preceding. The dead in the valley 
of Lucerna, including those of Angrogna, amounted to 
about six thousand Yaudois, of whom eight hundi'ed were 
in the commune of La Torre. This will make a total of 
more than ten thousand Yaudois carried off in one year by 
the mortality. A considerable number of families became 
entirely extinct. "\Ye have not reckoned the foreigners in 
the valleys, who had come in quest of the pure mountain 
air to prolong thek lives, and obtained nothing fr-om the 

* Histoire Eccl^siastique des Eglises Reformees, recueillies en quelques 
vallees du Pidmont, autrefois appelees Eglises Vaudoises, etc., pai' Pierre 
Grilles, pasteur de la Tour. Geneve : chez Jean de Touiiies, 164!i. 


soil but a grave. Hundreds more lost theii- lives. Soldiers, 
sutlers, poor persons, whom the plague had struck with 
death in by-paths, lay there, infecting the air AWth their 
corpses. In various places, they set fire to the houses, 
containing several dead persons, rather than mter them. 
Towards the end of the autumn, in many parts of the 
country, might be seen corn in the fields, grapes on 
the vines, and all kinds of fruit in the gardens, going to 
decay, because there was no one to gather or get them in. 
Excellent lands remained fallow. The wages of laboui'crs 
rose prodigiously, on account of the scarcity of hands. 

In the midst of so many evils, one thing alone, but that 
the best, prospered, — *' godliness ;" that precious fruit 
which hath the '^ promise of the life that now is, and of 
that which is to come." " The zeal of the people," says 
Gilles, in his simple language, ''to be present at the 
preaching in the open country, here or there, was ver^- 
great ; and eveiy one marvelled and praised God for the 
help he gave us amidst such sharp and terrible afflictions." 

Diu'ing the plague, the death of the duke Charles 
Emmanuel occurred. He had reigned fifty years, and had 
generally shown himself favourable to his faithful Yaudois 
subjects ; as much at least as the incessant intrigues of 
their enemies would allow. 

The news of the peace concluded between the king of 
France and the duke of Savoj' came also to reviye their 
spirits, which had been cast down by so many successive 
shocks. The valleys, towards the close of the year, came 
again under the dominion of the house of Savoy, with the 
exception of that portion of the valley of Perosa which is 
situated on the left bank of the Clusone, which was left to 
the French, as well as Pinerolo. 

It seemed that Avar and pestilence, those scourges of 
God, being once removed from these plains and desolated 
valleys, it would be possible for the survivors to recover 
gradually from their sufferings, allay theii' fears, and again 
enjoy some days of calm and peace. And so it was. All 
ties were re-established, and new ones were foimed by 
numerous marriages. So many persons left alone in the 
world cbew near to each other, and sought for mutual con- 
solation. Laboiu" resumed its actiAity, words of hope were 
heard on the high Alps, among the groups reclining under 

H 2 


the shade of the lofty chesnut-trees, in their leism^e hours, 
or as they sat round the blazing fire in their cottages at 

But their troubles were not yet over. The youthful 
generation, which had escaped from the plague, had again 
to bear all that the most cruel barbarity could invent. 
Meanwhile, it was being trained to patience, in the midst 
of previous vexations and intrigues either concealed or 
avowed, which we shall proceed to narrate in the following 



The first care of the Yaudois churches in 1631, on their 
being placed again under the rule of the house of Savoy, 
was to send a deputation to his highness Yictor Amadous i., 
commissioned to request, after offering their homage and 
congratulations, the general confij^mation of their privileges, 
and in particular of the favours and concessions granted 
by his august father, in the year 1603, and confirmed in 
1620. This step was not only dictated by propriety; it 
was become indispensable on account of the virulence with 
which the priests and other papists sought to injure them, 
and accused them to his highness. Success was delayed. 
The deputies were, it is true, received with kindness by 
their sovereign, but the confirmation of their privileges was 
deferred till after the examination of some points which they 
were accused of having transgressed or neglected. But 
although it was easy to explain the facts in question, months 
and years passed away without their being able to obtain the 
desired confirmation. The commissioners delegated by the 
court had evidently concerted to stifle or conceal the truth, 
with the intriguing papists who stirred the fire, at the head 
of whom was Eorenco, or Rorengo, the zealous prior of 

* For the narrative in this chapter, see Gilles, ch. sxx— Ix. 


Lucema. These men, blinded by passion, -^cre always 
raising fresh difficulties. 

They maintained that the residence of the Yaudois in 
Lucema was of recent date, although the oldest papists of 
the place were ready to bear witness that from their earliest 
infancy, they had seen the same families established there, 
whose domicile was now disputed. It is true, and we have 
remarked it in the preceding chapter, that for some years 
they had forced the Yaudois to leave this town, whither 
they afterwards returned to settle. The right of residence 
was equally contested in reference to the Yaudois of Cam- 
piglione, Fenile, and Bibbiana. Nevertheless the demon- 
stration of theii' rights was easy. They had on their side 
the fact of uninterrupted residence, and the letter of the 
treaty of 1561, which, T\T.thout naming, sufficiently pointed 
them out, as moreover was proved by the lists then forwarded 
to the count de Raconis. 

The same adversaries charged it as a crime on the Yau- 
dois that they had purchased the property of Roman Catho- 
lics ; while they could prove their right by a great number 
of ancient as well as modem deeds, documents perfectly 
regular, dra^Ti up by notaries and sanctioned by judges, 
both of the Roman religion. Lastly, they seemed to dislike 
the employment of evangelical schoohnasters, as if this had 
been a novelty in the valleys, though it could be proved 
that the Yaudois churches had had them fi'om the remotest 
antiquity. The particular object these intiiguing papists 
had in view, on this last point, was to substitute their 
monks for the evangelical schoolmasters. But in one of 
the great conferences with the deputies of the valleys, at 
which the duke's commissioner presided, for the settlement 
of this affair, an old man of Bobbio, Pierre Pavarin, on 
hearing the offer proposed to them by his highness, of send- 
ing at his expense some reverend fathers, well-informed 
and modest, and far superior to their present teachers, to 
keep the schools, could not restrain his feelings, but 
exclaimed, " Do they ^dsh us to send our chilch'en to the 
schools of the monks ? For myself, I would rather see my 
children burned to ashes than taught by such people I" 
There was nothing, down to the modest and single church- 
bell of San Giovanni, which these intenneddling papists 
did not make a point of dispute. They wanted nothiiig less 


than to reduce this bell to silence, or to confiscate it for 
their own nse, that they might ring it on their holidays to 
the great annoyance of the Yandois. But the people of San 
Giovanni, who from ancient times had made use of it for 
their meetings and for other purposes, defended their right 
to it so well that it could not be withheld. They had hoped 
to obtain as full success on other points, but Fauzon, the 
duke's commissioner, listened more readily to the insidious 
discourses of the papists than to the voice of justice. They 
even made a difficulty of allowing M. Etienne Mondon, the 
only Yaudois of his profession who had escaped the plague, 
to practise as a notary, and refused to admit any other to 
this office, which, nevertheless, they had filled from time 
immemorial. The brothers Goz (Gos), one a doctor of law, 
the other of medicine, both refugees from the marquisate 
of Saluzzo, had just been directed by the duke to remove 
out of La Torre and the valley of Lucerna. What well- 
founded hope of obtaining the ducal sanction for the ancient 
concessions could be maintained when intolerance was seen 
to threaten everything, and to give already palpable proofs 
of its return ? It was useless to expect the letters patent 
which had been solicited. They were not forwarded. 

So far from it, the persecution which openly raged against 
the Yaudois of Saluzzo,*" who were then under the same 
prince, served to enlighten those of the three valleys res- 
pecting the nature of the designs that were forming against 
them. In the mountains of Saluzzo, towards the sources of 
the Po, at the foot of Mount Yiso, there were left some 
remains of the ancient Yaudois churches. Their isolation 
in these elevated glens, their possession of the soil from 
time immemorial, their peaceable manners, and their calm 
but determined resistance to popish seductions, as well as 
attempts at oppression, had preserved them from the ruin 
which had overtaken all the other churches in the marqui- 
sate. Pravilhelm, Biolets, Bietone, and some other places 
in the neighbourhood of Paisana, still rejoiced in the pure 
light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But the plague had 
reduced their numbers one half. Their resistance could no 
longer be apprehended. An edict, dated September 23, 

* All these difficulties and pretensions disclose a settled desie^n to oppress 
and intimidate the Vaudois more and more, and finally to destroy them. Eveiy 
act of persecution was a step tn advance towards this crisis. 



1633, left them only the choice between popery and exile. 
Two months were allowed them to dispose of their property 
and leave the country, if they would not abjure. 

They and their friends of the valley of Lucema solicited, 
but in vain, the withdi'awal or modification of the edict. 
The bishop of Saluzzo, a great orator, came to Paisana, and 
attempted to move the principal persons whom he had sent 
for by fair speeches ; but fidelity to God rose superior, in 
these sincere hearts, to the calculations of interest and the 
love of their native country. Although the fatal term 
approached without their having effected the sale of their 
houses and lands, and winter was just at hand, almost all 
made up their minds to depart. Their brethren of the 
valley of Lucerna held out their arms to them. They began 
their march, taking with them their cattle and whatever 
else could be carried away. They were distributed among 
the villages and hamlets of their friends and bretliren, and 
there heard of the demolition of their ancient dwellings 
by the monks of Paisana. All hope of return was thus 
taken from- them. This odious act was superfluous. The 
Yaudois of Saluzzo felt themselves stronger, and conse- 
quently happier for thefr imion with those of Lucema. 
As they heard the approaching thunders of persecution, 
and beheld the Eomish lightnings flash around them, they 
and their brethren had a presentiment of the Di^"ine good- 
ness for thefr common safety, in thefr being thus brought 

Two of their number, having returned, a little while after, 
to attend to thefr afiafrs in the marquisate, were recognised 
and imprisoned. One, named Julian, redeemed himself by 
a considerable ransom ; the other, named Peillon, died in 
the gallej's, stedfast in the faith. Of all the enemies of 
the Yaudois, none were more active, and none more for- 
midable than the priests and monks, as we have already 
seen. They were especially so at the period now imder our 
review. From them proceeded the opposition to the renewal 
and observance of the concessions and privileges afready 
granted to the Yaudois. Among all these ecclesiastics, none 
made themselves so conspicuous as the prior of Lucerna, 
Marcus Aurelius Eorenco, and the prefect of the monks, 
Theodore Belvedere. To attain their end more surely, by 
influencing the public opinion, they had recourse to the 


press. The former, Eorenco, publislied, in 1632, under the 
title oi Breve Narrazione, etc., (''A brief Narrative of the 
introduction of Heresy into the Yalleys,") a book which 
calumniated the religion and lives of the reformed Chris- 
tians, and especially the Yaudois. He had collected in it 
the edicts against the Yaudois, extorted, in fact, from their 
sovereign by the manoeuvres of their enemies, and, for the 
most part, revoked shortly after, by the justice and en- 
lightened benevolence of the princes of Savoy ; and although 
the author spoke of certain concessions made to the Yau- 
dois, he did so only in an uneomiected, incomplete, and 
partial manner. The pastor Yalere Gros prepared an 
answer, which was never printed, owing to the perfidious 
advice of some false popish friends, and particularly the 
commissioners delegated to the valleys, who asserted that 
it was not necessary, since their adversary's book had made 
a very slight impression in high quarters ; which was false. 
E-orenco, encouraged by this success, published, in 1634, 
in concert with Belvedere, the prefect of the monks, Bes 
Lettres Apologetiques, ('' Apologetic Letters,") exhibiting 
but little knowledge or little conscience, which abounded 
with raillery against the Yaudois because they could not 
answer what was in the first book. On this occasion, the 
historian Pierre Gilles, pastor of La Torre, entered the lists. 
He refuted the two preceding books in his Considerations 
sur les Lettres Apologetiques, ('* Considerations on the Apo- 
logetic Letters.") The two popish authors replied, in 1636, 
by a Latitt work, with a very pompous title. Who could 
resist this ''Tower against Damascus" this "Portress of 
the Uoman church against the incursions of the Calvinists ?' ' 
Such boldness was reserved for the same soldier of Christ, 
against whom particularly the Romish shafts had been dis- 
charged. Gilles published, in opposition to "The Tower 
against Damascus," his work, entitled " The Evangelical 
Tower," solid and well built on the true foundation, on the 
corner-stone, which is Christ. The j^i'efect of the monlvs 
published, lastly, a work in Italian, dedicated to the Con- 
gregation for the Propagation of the Paith, at Pome, on the 
state of the Yaudois church, on their dicipline, doctrine, 
and ceremonies ; a book stufied with lies and calumnies, in 
which he obliquely insinuated the necessity of their exter- 
mination. Gilles refuted this also, with care, chapter by 


chapter, in a work of deep and minute investigation. But 
the accusations were better received by Italian readers than 
their refutation, and, lamentable to say, secretly excited 
them to hatred and persecution. Who can say how far these 
monkish productions paved the way for the great and di'ead- 
ful persecution which broke forth some years later ? 

An edict sunilar to that which had expelled the Yaudois 
of Pravilhelm, Biolets, and Bietone, from their villages, 
now spread terror thi'ough the valley of Lucema. The 
few Yaudois families residing at Campiglione, a town in 
the plain, still included in the valley of Lucema, received 
an order to leave their homes finally, within four-and- 
twenty hours, and to retire elsewhere, under pain of death 
and the confiscation of their goods. All obeyed, and Cam- 
piglione no longer mmibered a Yaudois among its inhabitants, 
llany families also quitted Bibbiana at the same time.^' 

In the parts where they had succeeded in establishing 
themselves, as at Perier and La Torre, the monks could not 
remain at rest. They often acted like hired disturbers of 
the peace. For example, — in the month of May, 1636, the 
monk Simond assailed some peaceable Yaudois, whom he 
found in the market-place of La Torre, with gross abuse ; 
and then, holding a gilt crucifi:x in his hands, he feU on his 
knees, uttering ciu^ses against the refonned kings and 
princes. Evidently he hoped to irritate the bystanders, 
both by his crucifix, before which he knelt, and by his 
unseemly language. But knowing too well the craft of men 
of his stamp, they restrained themselves, and for their 
justification went to complain of his proceedings to a magi- 
strate. This was the same monk Simond who raised a riot 
at Lucema, against Antoine Leger, the pastor of San Gio- 
vanni, because he had ventiu^d into this popish town, in 
order to \isit a parishioner who was dangerously ill, which 
was permitted by the convention of 1561. The alarm 
being given, the Yaudois ran together from every quarter 
to succour their pastor, who, by their care and exertions, 
escaped from danger. 

Animated disputes, either by word of mouth or in writ- 
ing, were carried on from time to time. Public discussions 
also took place by the instigation of the fiery Eorenco and 

* Leger, pt. ii., p. 63. 

M 3 


a monk sent from Eome. These were regarded by the pas- 
tors and the faithful Yaudois, as omens that their inveterate 
enemies were preparing for ruder attacks, as sudden showers 
show the approach of tempestuous weather. 

The sky was soon completely overcast. Besides the diffi- 
culties which the busy hatred of the popish clergy was con- 
tinually raising, the debates on religion, the obstacles to 
individual prosperity, and to the free enjoyment of their 
homes, consecrated by long use and the concessions of their 
sovereigns, the hindrances, above all, to the instruction of 
the young and to the exercise of religious liberty in certain 
communes, — besides all these impediments, wliich were ob- 
jects of great solicitude to the conductors of the churches, 
there were added political and civil difficulties of immense 
weight. The duke, Victor Amadous i., died in October, 1637. 
The regency of his son, a boy five years old, which had been 
committed to his widow Christina of Prance, was claimed 
by the cardinal Maurice of Savoy, aided by his brother 
Thomas, both brothers of the deceased, and consequently 
uncles of the 3"oung prince. These princes, being supported 
by Spain, seized on Piedmont. Even Turin opened its gates 
to them. The duchess and her children crossed the Alps 
and took refuge in Savoy. The cause of the regent mother 
seemed lost in Piedmont. It was at this critical moment, 
when all had abandoned it on this side the Alps, that the 
valleys, maintaining, even in the misfortunes of their sove- 
reign, their traditionary fidelity, declared their firm resolu- 
tion to uphold the rights of their duke and his mother. For 
this they were cruelly treated, especially the inhabitants of 
Lucerna, by their lord the marquis of Lucerna and An- 
grogna, who had taken sides with the princes Maurice and 
Thomas. Expecting to be attacked by the joint armies of 
the princes and of Spain, they thought it their duty to take 
precautionary measures, to preserve themselves for their 
sovereign; in particular, they created military officers. Ow- 
ing to this energetic attitude, they were not attacked, and 
even rendered eminent service to their prince ; for they kept 
open the passes of the Alps, hj which the Erench army, 
under the order of count Harcourt and marshal Turenne, 
penetrated into Piedmont, and ha^^ng driven out the 
Spanish army, procured peace, and put the young duke, 


under the regencj- of his mother, in full possession of his 
dominions >' 

It does not appear that the regent felt much indebted to 
the Yaudois valleys for theii' fidelity, or that she so much 
as noticed it. For scarcely was she again in possession of 
power than her government began to treat them with 
rigour. Perhaps it was found easier to revive the tradi- 
tionaiy method of persecution than to enter on the untrod- 
den path of justice and truth. There are, moreover, persons 
to whom gratitude is not considered as due, and who are 
treated harshly just because their oppressors are unwilling 
to acknowledge their obligations to them. 

The temple of San Giovanni, which had been re-opened, 
was again closed. A commissioner was sent to drive away 
to the left bank of the Pelice all the Yaudois who were 
settled on the right bank, at the opening of the valley, 
at Lucema, Bibbiana, and Penile, and to make those who 
were established at Bricherascof return within the limits. 
One of the pastors, Antoine Leger, uncle of the liistorian, 
who had taken the most active part in the measiu-es of 
defence in favour of the regency of the duchess against the 
princes of Savoy, was cited to appear before the tribunal at 
Turin. Being warned in time that his life was aimed at, 
he did not go there ; and notwithstanding the efforts made 
on his behalf by the churches and many persons of distinc- 
tion who esteemed him, he was sentenced to death for con- 
tumacy, and his property confiscated. A victim of his fide- 
lity, he left his coimtry for ever and betook himself to 
Geneva, the city of Protestant refugees, where he was 
appointed pastor and professor of theology and the oriental 
languages. I It may be noticed, in passing, that the adver- 
saries of the Yaudois made it a part of their system to get 
rid of every man of eminence who appeared in the valleys. 
By this sentence of death pronounced against the most dis- 
tinguished person that the Yaudois churches possessed, they 
were deprived of an able, prudent, and pious coimseUor at 
the very juncture when he was most needed. The times, 

* Leger, pt. ii., pp. 69, 70.— Gilles, whom we have preferred to follow hitherto, 
closes his history in the year 1643. For the fi;tru-e we follow Leger. 

t At this time"^ there were forty-seven Vaudois families at Lucema and its 
neighV)Oiu'hood ; thu-ty-five at Bibbiana ; thirty-thi-ee at Femle ; and nine at 
Biicherasco. (See Memoire de Rorenco, Storia di Pinerolo, t. iii., p. 201.) 

t Leger had been tutor in the fanuly of the ambassador of HoUand, at Con- 
stanttaople, for many years. 


in fact, were more serious than ever, for a board specially 
charged with taking cognisance of heresy had jnst been 
formed at Turin by the regent. Cardinal Maurice of Savoy"^ . 
was the president, and the archbishop of Tuiin vice-presi- 
dent. It was, no doubt, by desire of this board, ordinarily 
called by the simple designation of 11 Congresso, (The Con- 
gress,) that the duchess published, in 1644, the regulations 
respecting the honours due to the crucifix, the keeping of 
holidays, the burials of the Yaudois, etc. ; and she delegated, 
in 1646, the prior Eorenco, to re-establish in the valley of 
Lucerna, the ruined churches, (popish churches which had 
never existed but in the imagination of the friends Rome.) 
The board underwent a transformation some time after the 
jubilee of 1650, when the Council for the Propagation of 
the Faith and the Extirpation of Heretics, sitting at Rome, 
decided on the formation of auxiliary councils of the same 
name in the metropolitan cities, in some of which the par- 
liaments also held their sittings. 

These secondary councils, under the immediate direction 
of that at Rome, directed in their turn the inferior boards, 
and all the numerous agents distributed through the dif- 
ferent places of their district. This organization left no- 
thing to be desired in reference to its completeness, the 
unity of spirit which presided in it, the promptitude and 
secresy of its acts, as well as the activity and fanatical zeal 
of its members. The pope was well served, and the 
machine of destruction was as well constructed as it was 
sharp and well furnished. To combine the most numerous 
and efficacious modes of action, the provincial councils were 
advised to organize committees of females, whose special 
business would be to collect the large funds that would be 
required to purchase the conversion of certain heretics, and 
to cover the expenses of the agents. They were also, by 
means of their spies, who were most frequently female- 
servants, sick-nurses, and persons in attendance, to pene- 
trate into the households of heretics, in order to make use 
of the slightest tendency to disunion, to induce the discon- 
tented to abjure. 

The Council for the Propagation of the Faith and the 
Extirpation of Heretics, had its seat at Turin, under the 

* We may infer that the cardinal had withdrawn from the regency, by im- 
posing conditaons on Christina. 


presidency of the archbishop, and in his palace. But the 
most active and influential member of this assembly was 
a layman, — a lord of the court, the marquis Pianezza, one of 
the most crafty and cruel of men. His wife presided at 
the female committee, and impressed upon it an activity 
equal to that of her husband. 

No sooner was it constituted, than the new council set 
itself vigorously to work. Severe orders, or to speak more 
truly, unjust and cruel orders were drawn up and sub- 
mitted to Charles Emmanuel ii., for signature. This inex- 
perienced prince, — only sixteen years old, but declared of 
age two years before, in 1648, — was under the direct in- 
fluence of his mother, who approved of these opjDressive 
measures. A compliant magistrate, .the auditor Andrea 
Gastaldo, was chosen, and sent to the valleys to put them 
into execution. According to his instiiictions, which 
have been preserved, he was to drive back to the moun- 
tains the whole Yaudois population, not only on the right 
bank of the Felice, where they formed the minority, but 
also in the large commune of San Giovanni, where they 
constituted almost the whole, and in the town of La Torre, 
where they were the majority. He was to confiscate all 
the lands and houses in these places which their Yaudois 
possessors had not disposed of to the papists within fifteen 
days, unless they became papists themselves ; in that case 
their goods would be restored to them. Every Yaudois 
who bore fire-arms was to be treated as a criminal. The 
communes of Angrogna, Yillaro, Bobbio, Eora, etc., were 
to fui'nish, within the term of three days, a house where 
the missionary fathers might lodge and celebrate mass. 
Einally, the communes were to be prohibited from granting 
a dwelling to any foreign heretic, imder pain of a fine on 
the commune of two thousand gold crowns, and of death 
and confiscation of his property, to the foreigner. By this 
last measure they hoped to deprive the valleys of pastors, 
for the future at least. These orders bore the date of 
]May 15, 1650, and the signature of the duke Charles 

The auditor Gastaldo began to fulfil his commission with 
brutality, granting in his manifesto only three days to the 
Yaudois in the denounced localities, to choose between 

♦ Storia di Pinerolo, etc., t. iii., pp. 212—216. 


deatli and dispossession, or abjui'ation.* This part of the 
decree was, nevertheless, not carried into effect at that 
time ; for which delay we can suppose no other reason than 
the difficulty of accomplishing this barbarous work; the 
means of coercion not being yet sufficiently prepared, and 
also the preference that was given to the establishment of 
the monks and of the popish worship in all the communes. 
The other part of the orders of the board was fully and 
promptly executed, to the great sorrow of all the faithful. 
Eora, Angrogna, Yillaro, and Bobbio saw the zealous satel- 
lites of the pope established in the heart of their popula- 
tion, and the office of the mass, so hateful to the Yaudois, 
acquire a firm footing there. Henceforward, on this soil, 
sanctified from time immemorial by the word of truth, by 
the pure preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, error 
would have its ritual and idolatry its altars : the true 
worshippers of God would see walking in their midst the 
priests of images and saints, the suppliants of Mary : 
they must be doomed to hear that incense is agreeable to 
God, and that Latin litanies and chants are the prayers 
and songs that he delights in. Those whom the splendour 
of a pompous and outward ritual could not seduce, were to 
be allured by the promise of the pardon of their sins after 
confession, or won over by money, flatteries, and worldly 
honours; and those who were not carried away by the 
example of their brethren, threats, fines, prisons, torture, 
and the sword would reduce to silence. In a few months, 
at least in a few years, the victory of the pope would be 
complete, f 

Such were the hopes of the Council for the Propagation 
of the Faith and the Extirpation of Heretics. But it was soon 
seen that all the means of persuasion, seduction, and inti- 
midation, had no effect on men so enlightened and conscien- 
tious as were the leaders of the chiuThes, or on the main 
body of the Yaudois, whom their traditions of fidelity to the 
gospel, and sound religious instruction, had fortified gene- 
rally against apostasy. The Council not succeeding in the 
Propagation of the Faith, the first purpose and object of its 
labours, decided on attempting the second, the Extirpation 
of Heretics. Nothing was wanting but to seize a favourable 

* L^ger, pt. ii., p. 73. 

t Rome always cherishes such hopes. 


opportunity, or to make one, if it did not offer itself. In 
the space of some years, the council created several, of 
Trhich we shall give an account, but which did not produce 
all the results desired, until the day when these men, panting 
for blood, found at last the means of quenching their burn- 
ing thirst in the streams which they caused to flow. 

The first farom^able occasion which the coimcil thought 
they had found for the extirpation of the Yaudois had been 
contriyed at Yillaro, by a creatui^e of the marquis of Pianezza, 
named Michel Berti'am Yilleneuve. This man had been 
saved by this lord from prison, fi^om which his father, who 
had been accused, like himself, of coining base money, had 
escaped only by poisoning himself. Being settled at Yillaro, 
and pretending a lively indignation at the introduction of 
the monks and their officers into that town, he excited the 
people to violence in an imderhand manner, constantly 
repeating that such a nest of vipers as these fathers should 
not be allowed in a place where no one could recollect 
having seen a papist reside, much less their missionaries. 
He played his part so well that the pastor's wife and two 
persons of respectability in the place, named Joseph and 
Daniel Pelenc, ardent young men, adopted these views, and 
at last induced the pastor, named Manget, to coincide with 
them ; who, nevertheless, was not disposed to act excepting 
so far as the churches of the valley might give their consent. 
"With this view, he requested the moderator, or ecclesias- 
tical president of the managing committee of the Yaudois 
churches, to assemble the deputies of the communes and the 
pastors, for an important object. The assembly was held at 
Bouisses, in the commime of La Ton-e, March 28, 1653. 
They heard T\dth surprise Manget's proposition, to diive 
away the monks from Yillaro, those insolent strangers, 
whose convent, a focus of intrigues, and unjustly esta- 
blished, might, if it met with no opposition, become a fire 
as dangerous to the Yaudois church as it was hostile to it. 
But, though experiencing much annoyance from the pre- 
sence and attempts of the monks, the assembly did not relish 
his proposal, nor the expedient by which he wished to ren- 
der this attempt less culpable, which consisted in commit- 
ting it to the women. Jean Leger, pastor of San Giovanni, 
who became known at a later period, by his history of the 
Yaudois churches, showed himself worthy of the confidence 


wliich the people placed in him by calling him, though still 
young, (he was only thirty-eight,) to the difficult and im- 
portant post of moderator. Leger, as a faithful subject, 
demonstrated the injustice of the proposed measure, by 
citing the 19th article of the treaty of 1561, which re- 
served to the prince the liberty of having mass celebrated 
in places where there was preaching, without at all obliging 
the Yaudois to be present at it. 

ISTevertheless, the imprudent Manget, carried away by a 
bitter zeal, and blind to the consequences of a criminal 
enterprise, agreed to the expulsion of the monks, whom his 
friends, misguided like himself, terrified that same evening ; 
and his wife so far forgot herself as to carry to the infuri- 
ated men the matches for setting fire to the bundles of 
hemp that were heaped together on purpose, which soon 
spread the fire and consumed the convent. 

The unfortunate pastor of Yillaro had allowed his impru- 
dence and bad faith to go so far as to make his headstrong 
friends believe that the assembly of Bouisses had approved 
and ordered the expulsion of the monks and the burning of 
their residence. This report spread from place to 4)lace, 
with the news of the event of which it was the commentary. 
In this way it reached the ears of the formidable marquis 
Pianezza, and his associates of the Council for the Propaga- 
tion of the Paith and the Extirpation of Heretics. They 
appeared as much irritated as they must secretly have been 
gratified. They had at last an opportunity ; here was not 
only a pretext, but a reason, a motive as plausible as just, 
for inflicting punishment. The pimishment ought to be 
proportioned to the offence. Utter ruin would not be too 
great a chastisement for incorrigible men who, after having 
resisted the appeals of the Romish church, had outraged 
her ministers, profaned her mysteries, and burned her holy 
places; and, in fact, the duchess gave instant orders to 
assemble all the troops of the State, and forthwith despatched 
colonel Tedesco, an enterprising and courageous officer, at 
the head of five or six thousand troops, (both horse and 
foot,) to surprise the populous town of Yillaro and reduce 
it to ashes. 

On his part, the young and prudent moderator had no 
sooner heard the reports which attributed to the conference 
at Bouisses the order to burn the convent and expel the 


monks, than he went, accompanied by the principal persons 
of his church, and of those in the neighbourhood, to the 
magistrate of the valley who resided at Lucerna, and there 
protested his innocence, and that of his colleagues and the 
entire conference, and even of the majority of the inha- 
bitants of Yillaro ; the deplorable acts of expulsion and 
incendiarism having been committed both by the will and 
act of only a small number of offenders. Leger and the 
deputies, his colleagues, offered, in the name of their 
chiu'ches, to render every assistance in bringing the crimi- 
nal parties to punishment. They begged, in return, that 
favour might be shown to the innocent. These declarations, 
di'awn up as an authentic act, were taken at the same time 
to Tiu-in by one of the lords of Lucema. 

jSTevertheless, on the 26th of April, while the men of the 
valley were, according to custom, at the market of Lucema, 
the count Tedesco hastened to attack Yillaro, at the head 
of two hundred horsemen, well moimted, followed verj'- 
closely by the rest of his troops. Such was his expedition, 
that he passed through Fenile, Bibbiana, San Giovanni, and 
La Torre, and found himself at the gates of Yillaro .^^'ithout 
having met the slightest resistance. 

The devoted town would have been lost beyond recovery, 
if God, in his mercy, had not caused torrents of rain to fall ; 
which so completely soaked the equipments of the cavahy 
that hardly a single musket was in a state to answer the well- 
sustained &e of a little troop of about twenty-five men, 
vrho, forming just in time at the entrance of the town, 
dared to make resistance.^' The rain continuing to fall, 
the day di'a^\dng to a close, and the alaiTQ being given 
thi^ough all the valley, the count found himself obliged to 
sound a retreat, and returned the same evening to Lucema, 
without having been assailed or interrupted on his march. 

The next day all the Yaudois of the valley were under 
arms. The most ominous reports came from Piedmont. 
It was said that different bodies of soldiers were on their 
march, who meant to make a temble example of the inha- 
bitants. The leading men of the communes and the pastors 
assembled in haste. The deputies of the lower places, 

* But it must be observed, that the position was very favourable for making 
a defence ; the approach was practicable only by a narrow road, bounded by 
steep declivities, and presenting an exposed bend. 


particularly those of San Giovanni, were for submission, 
because their property and families were already in the 
power of the army ; but prayer having restored calmness 
to the assembly, and the news received from various places 
and friends, as well as the exhortations of Leger and others 
having shown the certainty of a massacre, they united in 
the same determination to defend themselves even to death. 

This resolution astonished the count Tedesco. He 
clearly saw that his progress in the valley would be marked 
by streams of blood. The road which he must take was 
in every part commanded by the mountain heights. To 
manoeuvre slowly formed no part of his plan. He had not 
made the necessary preparations for a slow or complicated 
expedition : he consented, therefore, to a cessation of 
hostilities. It was agreed that the communes should sign 
a declaration similar to that which some of their leaders 
had laid before his highness ; that they should protest their 
innocence in reference to the expulsion of the monks and 
the burning of the convent; that they should supplicate 
their sovereign to confine himself to punishing the authors 
of the outrage ; that, finally, they should ask pardon for 
having taken arms to defend themselves, since they could 
not believe that it was the will of their sovereign that they 
should be exterminated. 

Count Christophe, of Lucerna, who had consented to 
carry the act of submission of the Yaudois communes to 
Turin, brought back the promise of a general amnesty and 
the confirmation of their grants, on condition of the 
actual surrender of the minister Manget and his wife, as 
well as the re-establishment of the missionary fathers in a 
house to be provided by the commune of Yillaro. A depu- 
tation also was required to appear at court, to request 
pardon for having taken arms. 

These conditions having been fulfilled,^* the count Tedesco 
retired with his army ; and on their departure the dread of 
the most heart-rending scenes was also withdrawn for a 
few months. 

* One of these conditions, that which obUged the commune of VUlaro to 
provide a house for the monks, being contrary to tlie letter of former treaties, 
which stipulate that the communes should be at no exj^ense on account of the 
Romish worship, the difficulty was got over in the following manner : The 
cotmt Tedesco took by force, in the name of her liighness, a house belonging 
to Jacques Ghiot, and placed the reverend fathers" in it. The mdi\idual, no 
doubt, received compensation from the commune. L^ger, pt. ii., p. 78. 


Eut the valley of Liicema did not long enjoy an undis- 
turbed tranquillity. At the beginning of 1654, it was 
suddenly menaced with all the hoiTors of war by the artful 
contrivances, it cannot be doubted, of the princess who held 
the reins of government, though her son had akeady been 
declared of age. The duchess had consented, for a con- 
siderable sum of money, to receive into winter quarters in 
her domains the aimy of Trance in Italy, commanded by 
marshal De Grance. She assigned the Yaudois valleys and 
a few of the neighbouring communes for it. Two regiments 
were at first distributed in the valley of Lucerna, already 
biu'dened by the constant presence of the Savoy squadron, 
who were billeted upon individuals, and in part maintained 
by them, both men and horses. This pressure on their 
means, although great, would have been borne with 
patience, out of submission to the "svill of the prince, but 
on all sides it was whispered that it was against the inten- 
tions of the duchess that the French ti'oops of Grance were 
establishing themselves in the country; that the duchess 
esteemed the valleys too highly to believe that they would 
admit foreign troops among them without her precise orders 
and sign-manual ; that to receive them would be to expose 
themselves to be treated as rebels and traitors after their 
departure. These disquieting rumours were spread by the 
monks and popish lords, who professed to be well informed 
as to the state of things. Their object was gained; the 
people of the valley took up arms to drive back the French. 
To appease them the prefect, Ressan, wrote to the overseers 
that the marshal had the approbation of her highness ; but 
his secretary immediately came and informed them that 
this letter had been forced from him, and did not express 
the truth. The communes of La Toitc, Bobbio, and Yillaro, 
not being yet occupied, persisted in their refusal. The 
prefect pretended to be iiTitated by the contempt shown to 
his letter, and encouraged the marshal, a hot-headed man, 
to collect his army, in order to biing the dogs {les harhcts)"^ 

* An epithet of contempt, synonymous with ehien, (dog,) which the Pied- 
montese papists give to the Vaudois. Perhaps originally it was derived from 
the title barbe, given by the Vaudois to their pastors before the Reformation, 
and aftei-wards to old men in general. In the latter case it is synonj-mous 
with oncle, (imcle.) The papists generahzed the title, and apphed it to all the 
Vaudois, after having shghtly altered it, to make it richculous. However, 
the word barle, (signifying sir, or uncle,) is also in use among the Carhohcs of 


to their senses. No sooner said than done. On the 2nd 
of February, Grance appeared before La Torre with all. his 
troops. The men of the valley hastened to stop his 
passage, — a dangerous attempt in the plain, since they were 
destitute of artillery and cavalry, with which the enemy 
was provided. The firing was just about to open, when a 
French reformed captain, named de Corcelles, catching sight 
of the moderator, Jean" Leger, rode up to him. Leger, 
laying hold of his horse's tail, crossed over mth him to 
the army standing in battle array, and threw himself at the 
feet of the marshal, just as he had finished giving his last 
orders, and explained to him, in a rapid manner, the 
scruples of his fellow-citizens. " Obtain," he said, " only 
a single line from her royal highness to testify that 
she consents to the quartering of these troops, and then 
the valleys are at your discretion. They will be patient 
even if you march over their bodies, provided they do not 
incur the anger of their prince." These words perfectly 
describe the complete submission of the Yaudois to their 
sovereign in all matters not affecting their religious faith. 
The marshal, says Leger, cursed the pestilent fellows that 
fomented such troubles, and consented to suspend his 
operations till the return of a courier, who was despatched 
immediately to Turin, and brought back in the morning 
a letter from the duchess to the valleys, authorizing the 
cantonment of the French troops. The valley of Lucerna 
had not less than four regiments quartered upon it, of 
which one alone counted about three thousand men. 

The intention of destroying the Yaudois was thus de- 
feated a second time ;^ but it could not always be so, as 
we shall be convinced to our astonishment and poignant 

Let us first call to mind a conspicuous fact in the whole 
history of the Yaudois; I mean, their fidelity to their 
sovereign, and their entire and prompt obedience to his 
orders, as Avell as to his laws, in everything that did not 
affect their duties to God, according to the holy gospel of 

* In the follo^ralg year, after the massacres, L(5ger, conversing with marshal 
Granc^ at Paris, heard him express himself tlnis : — •' Reverend sir, I now know 
very well, and I discovered'^t before, that they wished to make use of me to cut 
all your tln-oats, and then to cut off my own head, when the duchess told me 
to lodge my troops ui the valleys ; and yet they were threatened -svith the total 
loss of her favour if they received them, as you yourself informed me, in good 
time, before the town of La Torre." See L^ger, pt. ii., p. 81, 


Jesus Clirist. Of this they gave proof on many occasions ; 
and again in the instance of defending the regency against 
the princes in coalition with the Spaniards ; and lastly, in 
risking their being massacred by the army of Grance, 
rather than submit themselves to a stranger, contrary to 
the pleasure of their sovereign. 

Let us also notice that the young duke confirmed their 
former pri^T-leges, in 1653, by three decrees, and by a 
fourth in the month of May, in 1654, to the same effect. 
It is true that the subordinate agents raised one obstacle 
after another to the confi.rmation of these decrees, opposing 
new difficulties of a formal kind as soon as the preceding 
were removed, so as to prevent the registration of the 

i^evertheless history has established the fact, that down 
to the period at which we are arrived, excepting the mis- 
demeanor committed at Yillaro by some imprudent indi- 
viduals, and which could not without injustice be attri- 
buted to the general body, the conduct of the Yaudois 
towards the authority of their prince was free from all 
reproach, and even exemplary. It was not, then, for 
political reasons, as the ministers of the sovereign at a later 
period pretended, that the edge of the sword at last fell on 
so many victims. The fact, moreover, of the existence at 
Turin, from the year 1650, of a Council for the Propagation 
of the Faith and the Extirpation of Heretics, is attested by 
the very wording of a proclamation of Gastaldo, dated 
Lucerna, the 31st of May, 1650, and pm^iorting that only 
those persons would be exempt fi^om pimishment who 
could prove that they had become CathoHcs before the 
above-named council, established at Turin by his royal 
highness. This fact of itself suffices to explain everytliing ; 
and when it is attempted to heap accusations, more or less 
plausible, on the Yaudois, shows with so much greater 
force, in the absence of political pretexts, that the terrible 
persecutions that ensued were the result of the machina- 
tions of Rome. And who can be surprised ? Those who 
know its history, or who have seen the operations of this 
corrupt church, know that one of the proofs of the ciu'se it 
has received from the Lord is, that it is constrained by its 
own principles, and forced by the spirit that aniniates its 
most faithful agents, to persecute to the utmost, as irrecon- 


cileable enemies, worthy of the severest punishments, the 
most faithful confessors of the name of Jesus Christ, the 
most zealous friends of his word, the holiest men, and the 
purest churches. 

Eut we check ourselves. Let us leave the judgment 
of this church to the Lord, for to him alone belongeth 




The storm was followed by a calm. Events, it appeared, 
had not favoured the design of extirpating the heretics ; 
and the Vaudois, reposing in their valleys, already indulged 
the hope of better days, and hastened to request the regis- 
tration by the senate of the four decrees by which, in 1653 
and 1654, the duke had confirmed their privileges. But 
how far were they from perceiving the real state of things, 
and susjiecting the dreadful catastrophe that awaited them ! 
Eor while, under various pretences, their requests were set- 
aside, or the consideration of them deferred, the agents of 
Eome at the court of Turin, in conjunction with the chief 
members of the government, were secretly plotting fresh 
schemes, worthy of the powers of darkness that inspired 
them. Xo time was lost in forming their plan ; they adopted 
an old project already sketched, in 1650, in a manifesto 
of the auditor Gastaldo, intended to restrain the Vaudois 
within narrower limits, and to oppress them more severely 
than ever. 

In consequence of these deliberations, and furnished with 
new powers, the lawyer Gastaldo, auditor of the exchequer, 
conservator-general of the holy faith, commissioned to 
enforce the observance of the orders published against the 
pretended reformed religion of the valleys of Lucerna, 
Perosa, and San Martino, and delegated for this special 
object by his royal higliness, proceeded to Lucerna, and 
there published, on the 25th of January, 1655, the follow- 
ing cruel order: — " It is enjoined and commanded on all 
persons, heads of families, of the pretended reformed reli- 
gion, of every state and condition without exception, 
inhabitants and landowners of Lucerna, Lucernetta, San 



Giovaimi, La Toitg, Bibbiana, Fenile, Campiglione, Bri- 
cherasco, and San Scconclo/^ to ^itbcbaw from the afore- 
said places and temtories, and to leave them ^vith all their 
families, within the space of three days fi'om the pubhca- 
tion of the present edict, in order to settle within the 
localities and limits tolerated by his royal highness, accord- 
ino-to his good pleasure, and which are Bobbio Aillaro, 
iSo-roo-na, llora, and the district of Bonnets, buch per- 
;on1 as° refuse to obey these orders, and are found beyond 
the aforesaid Hmits, will incur the penalty of death and the 
confiscation of all theii' property, unless witbm the next 
twenty days they declare before us (Gastaldo) that they are 
Catholics, or that they have disposed of theu' property to 
CathoUcs " The manifesto contains the strange and incre- 
dible assertion, that neither his highness nor his pre- 
decessors ever designed to grant the inhabitants of the 
yaUeys more extensive Hmits than those laid down in the 
present edict ; that the claim of the Yaudois to more ex- 
tensive limits was an encroachment; that this encroach- 
ment constituted a crime, and that those who had committed 
it were liable to punishment.! -u . „ 

An order which forcibly expeUed whole famihes by hun- 
di^eds, in three days, and in the middle of winter, even had 
it been legal, and been brought about by the bad conduct of 
the condeinned parties, would stiU have been a cruel order. 
Imagine the distress of fathers and mothers compeUed 
at once, without any previous warning, to leave the abode 
which they had buHt, or received by inheritance from their 
parents, where they had brought up_ then^ chilcfren stored 
their c^ops, and were li™g happUy in the fear of the Lord 
and enioying the light of his countenance. See them now 
Sng AYhfther ai^e we to go? what is to become of us? 
must we then quit everything? abandon ox- goods o^ 
hearths? renounce so many earthly blessings ?-One_v^^ay 
alone was left them of avoiding such comiolete rmn J5y a 
cruel refinement of compassion, Gastaldo had pointed it out 
to them ; it was apostasy. Become a papist, invoke ttie 
.^ihi and the sainti, prostrate thyself before graven images, 

were directed against it, as being the most consulera^ history, he can 

t If the reader recoUect the contents of Chap, viii.oitmb ^^ 

decide for himself how fai' this charge of encroachment is weU tomiaea. 

264 nisTOEY OF xnE yaudois chuece:. 

attend the mass, adore the host, confess to the priest, oifer 
him gifts, and thou shalt preserve thy house, thine orchard, 
thy vines, and fields, — at the cost of thy immortal soul ! If 
all received strength fi^om above, we might hope, no doubt, 
that faith in the Saviour, and the expectation of future 
blessedness would gain in theii' hearts the victory over the 
love of earthly things. But who would venture to expect 
such faith and self-renunciation from all, or even fi^om the 
greater number ? And then, the infirm and aged, and the 
sick, and the multitude of little chilcben — what will become 
of them ? how can they be removed ? what course are they 
to take ? in what villages of their sympathising brethren 
must a refuge be sought for them, and with them ? Only let 
the reader imagine himself a witness of the anguish, the 
embarrassment, the fears and lamentations of the victims 
devoted to the direst evils by popish cruelty. It is now the 
most inclement season of the year ; it snows on the moun- 
tains, while in the valleys the flakes are turned into rain 
which penetrates through everything. The hour of depar- 
ture is arrived : the cruel Gastaldo has marked it. Those 
who delay will have their goods confiscated, and receive 
themselves the sentence of death. What will be your deci- 
sion, ye men of peace, who sigh for rest ? Oh victory of 
faith ! — the love of God has triumphed in their hearts ! . . 
They depart, carrying as they are able, whatever is most 
precious to them. Often, instead of articles of absolute 
necessity, with which they would have loaded a mule, here 
and there belonging to more wealthy families, they place 
upon its back the weak old man of eighty, the sick, taken 
from his bed, or children too young to walk. Ye holy fami- 
lies, beaten by the storm, frozen by the cold, advancing 
with confidence, though uncertain what awaits you in the 
future, we behold you with reverence, we follow you with 
love ! May the recital of your suiferings transmit to your 
descendants, in the present day, the glorious example of 
your faith and your sacrifices ! 

The pastor of the majority of these victims, the histo- 
rian, Jean Leger, is at a loss, in his narrative, sufficiently 
to express his admiration of the goodness of God, w'ho in 
so great a multitude of persons, allowed not one to do 
violence to his conscience. '^' All preferred the prospect of 

* Fifteen hundred at least ; probably two thousand. 


misery and sufferings of every kind to tlie peaceable pos- 
session of their houses and goods at the cost of abjuration. 
They took for their motto, he exclaims, the words of Holj- 
Writ in reference to the sacrifice of Isaac ; ** In the mount 
of the Lord, it shall be seen." 

The exiles were received with compassion by their bre- 
thren in the tolerated villages ; they gave them a place by 
their firesides ; and crowded themselves to lodge them ; the 
table was spread for all ; they shared with them the dish of 
parched com or polenta, boiled chesnuts, butter, and milk. 
To welcome them, the cup of red wine went round from hand 
to hand, while they listened to their melancholy story. 

But this was not all. An attempt was made to soften 
Gastaldo. A humble petition was presented to the duke. 
Alas! all was useless. The petition was rejected; the de- 
puties retui'ned in consternation. '' The mass, or exile" — 
was all the answer they received. IS^o other alternative was 
left them. 

But not allo^dng themselves to be baffled, the three 
valleys persevered in presenting memorials in behalf of their 
persecuted brethren. They knocked at every door. Their 
principal letters to the dowager duchess, to the duke, and 
to the man on whom their fate seemed chiefly to depend, 
on account of the influence he possessed and the powers he 
was invested with, we mean, the marquis do Pianezza, have 
been preserved. They represent, with all possible respect, 
that, from time immemorial,^' they had dwelt in those 
plains from which they had just been expelled ; that the 
treaty of 1561, which had refused to the Yaudois the liberty 
of preaching in most of the communes in question, had 
nevertheless recognised their residence in them ; that this 
latter privilege had been established by very ancient authen- 
tic acts, and had been constantly guaranteed in later con- 
cessions, that their expulsion from the places of their birth 
and the communes of their ancestors could not consequently 
be effected without violating the most explicit and venerable 
documents, and infiinging a right hitherto undisputed. 
But these representations were not listened to. Even ac- 
cess to the throne of their sovereign was shut against the 
Yaudois. Gastaldo declared that it was so ; and they were 

* Leger remarks that the Vaudois inhabited these parts before Piedmont 
belonged to the house of Savoy. 



soon convinced that this was the case. Neither their peti- 
tions nor their deputations were admitted. It was required 
of them that they should petition for favour, and leave the 
conditions of it entirely to the good pleasure of his highness. 
This was, in fact, the only means of bringing them to 
abjure. Yet, whatever was done, this point could not be 
gained. In all their petitions, and all their promises of 
submission, they constantly renewed the maintenance of 
their ancient privileges, and especially that of liberty of 
conscience. And on these wishes and reservations being 
rejected, they supplicated their prince to allow them to 
leave his dominions in peace. 

These urgent entreaties and conditions irritated the 
council. Their situation, already very critical, had been 
aggravated by imprudences, which calumny was quick in 
taking advantage of. Some of the exiles from Bibbiana 
and other villages in the plain of Lucerna, having heard 
that certain Piedmontese robbers were lajdng waste their 
property and plundering their houses, returned thither to 
assure themselves of the truth of the report, and to protect 
their property. Their ancient lords, and especially count 
Christophe, of Lucerna, pretending sentiments of bene- 
volence, encouraged them to look after their dwellings, 
and not entirely to abandon the cultivation of their lands, 
provided, however, their families kept away. The auditor 
Gastaldo, it was added, saw no harm in their doing so. This 
language was like a bait which the angler puts on his hook 
to entice and catch the voracious fish. The Vaudois of San 
Giovanni, La Torre, Lucerna, Bibbiana, and other places, 
too anxious to preserve their unprotected property, did not 
see that they gave their enemies a handle for accusing them 
of transgressing their sovereign's edict, which they did not 
fail to do. Word was sent to the count that they resisted, 
and persisted in their obstinacy. Their imprudence was 
even described as outrageous rebellion. 

A murder committed on the person of the priest of Fenile, 
one of the communes from which the Yaudois had been 
expelled, was at once attributed to the revenge of the barbets. 
The real authors of the assassination were soon j)ui'sued by 
the relations of the deceased and cast into prison. They 
were the lord of Fenile, Ressan, prefect of justice of the 
province, one of the most ardent enemies of the Yaudois, 


his secretaiy Dagot, and a celebrated bandit named Bcrru. 
Nevertheless the hasty nimoiir had akeady filled all Pied- 
mont \vith the imputation of this crime to the detested 
barbets, though the real criminals were suspected. The 
mischief was done ; calumny had gained its end.'^^ The 
Yaudois were in the judgment of the Piedmontese, not only 
heretics, enemies of the virgin and the saints, but also rebels 
against their prince, and assassins. The punishments they 
deserved from the avenging justice of their sovereign, it 
was thought, could never be severe enough. 

At length, the persecutors of the Yaudois had attained 
their object; the Council for the Propagation of the Faith 
and the Extirpation of Heretics had won the consent of the 
duke and his family, as well as the general approbation. 
The hour was come to strike a great blow, to extii'pate 
heresy in a day. The marquis of Pianezza, the soul of the 
council, assembled his troops while he deceived and quieted 
the deputies from the valleys at Tuiin. 

All the disposable tix)ops were secretly prepared for the 
expedition, and to these were added some companies of 
Bavarians. At the request of Charles Emmanuel, six regi- 
ments of the French army crossed the Alps, then covered 
with snow, besides an Irish regiment of papists who had fled 
before Crom^'ell. It is even said that banditti, a^^pre- 
hended criminals, and other abandoned wretches were 
allowed to follow the army with a promise of pardon and 
plunder if they acquitted themselves well. 

The marquis of Pianezza continued to the last to amuse 
the Yaudois deputation, to whom he had long promised an 
audience, which he put off from one day to another, and at 
length fixed for April the 17th, 1655. But while they 
were knocking at his door, at the houi' appointed, and David 
Branchi of San Giovanni and Francois Manchon of the valley 
of San Martino, were told that they coiJd not yet speak to 
his excellency,! the deceiver Pianezza, who had set ofi" at 

* Berru even dared to assert that he had been hired by the pastors Leger 
and Michelin, to commit this mm-der. But in the conferences held during the 
month of August, at Pinerolo, in the presence of the French ambassador and 
the Swiss deputies, Leger confounded his calumniators by demonstrating his 
perfect innocence as well as that of his colleague, and by offering to clear up 
the aflfair at Pinerolo, on the French territory where they should bring Berru 
himself, whom they had just apprehended in the valleys. But the Piedmon- 
tese papists declined the offer sajdng it was needless ; that Leger was free from 
all suspicion, etc., and that Berru ought to be dehvered to the ordmarj- judges. 

t Thev would, no doubt, have been aorested themselves, shortly after, if a 

N 2 

268 HISTORY or the taudois church. 

night, was entering the valley of Lucerna at the head of an 
army which, the next day, counted not less than fifteen 
thousand men, according to the statement even of the 

San Giovanni and La Torre, which had been abandoned 
by the Vaudois ever since the manifesto of Gastaldo, were 
taken possession of without any trouble, as were also all 
their ancient dwellings in the villages of the plain. It is 
hardly necessary to add that every place was pillaged. The 
poor exiles and their brethren from Bobbio, Yillaro, and 
Angrogna, sorrowfully kept themselves in safe places on the 
heights, whence they could see the troops scattered over the 
plain and ravaging it. Their sentinels kept watch night 
and day. The aggressive intentions of the papists were too 
evident for the Yaudois to hesitate about defending them- 
selves. The mountaineers resolved to sell their Kves dearly. 
As early as the 1 9th of April, they were fiercely assailed in 
many places, at San Giovanni, La Torre, Angrogna, and the 
hills of Bricherasco, all at the same time. Although Yerj 
inferior in numbers, they repulsed the regular troops at 
every point. On the 20th, the attacks were renewed, but 
with no better success. 

The marquis of Pianezza thereupon called in stratagem 
and deceit to his aid. He convened the deputies of the 
communes of the valley of Lucerna, to meet him at the 
convent of La Torre on Wednesday the 21st, early in the 
morning, and pacified and encouraged them. He repre- 
sented that he was merely in pursuit of those obstinate 
individuals who had resisted the orders of Gastaldo ; that, 
as for all the rest, they had nothing to fear, provided, that, 
as a mark of obedience and fidelity to the prince, they would 
consent to receive and lodge a regiment of infantry and two 
companies of horse soldiers, in each of their communities, 
for two or three days. Some soothing words lessened in 
the minds of the deputies the painful impression which these 
proposals at first made. A sumptuous entertainment pro- 
vided for them with apparent kiadness by the artful vice- 
president of the Council for the Extirpation of Heresy, 
succeeded in convincing them of the sincerity and benevo- 
lence of his intentions. On returning to their communes, 

lord, a friend of the Vaudois had not whispered to them, " The marquis is 
gone to the v^eys, be ofl"!"^ 


they inspired their brethren with similar confidence, in spite 
of the efforts of several clear-sighted men, the pastor Leger 
in particular. 

The whole army, accordingly, put itself in motion, on 
the 22nd of April, to occupy the Yaudois communes. The 
regiments first took possesion of the large to^Tis of Yillaro 
and Bobbio, in the plain, as well as of the lower hamlets of 
Angrogna. At the same time, they seized upon the principal 
passes, and meeting with no obstacle, penetrated while day- 
light allowed, as far as the hamlets in the higher valleys. 
Thus instead of a few regiments and squadrons, the whole 
army lodged and established itself in the habitations of the 
credulous Yaudois. Their reliance on the word of other 
people, and respect for their sovereign, were their ruin. It 
is sad to think that sentiments so honoui^able should often 
become a cause of destruction. 

The eagerness of some of the soldiers to execute the orders 
that had been secretly given them, apprised the akeady 
suspicious Yaudois of what they had to fear. One troop 
hastened to climb the heights above La Torre, in order to 
penetrate into the quarter of the Pra-di-torre, that natural 
citadel of Angrogna, so often mentioned in the preceding- 
persecutions ; on their way up, these madmen set fire to all 
the houses, and moreover, massacred all the unfortunate 
beings they could lay hands upon. The spectacle of these 
flames, the sound of the cries and screams of the victims 
whom they stabbed or pursued, left no doubt of their inten- 
tions. The alarm, '' Save himself who can ! the treason is 
out!" resounded from one extremity of the valley to the 
other. In the valley of Angrogna, most of the men had 
time to escape to the mountains and to save a good part of 
their families, by favour of the darkness. They passed over 
to the side of the mountain opposite to that on which their 
hamlets were situated, as far as that part of the valley of 
Perosa, which belonged to France, and where they felt 
themselves safe. The sick and aged were obliged to remain ; 
many women also and their children stayed with them. 

The soldiers, on the day of their arrival, and the follow- 
ing, were very pacific. They seemed only intent on pro- 
viding themselves with refreshments. They lavishly used 
the provisions stored up by the refugees of San Giovanni, 
Pibbiana, and other towns in the plain. Tl^y exhorted 


those who were in their power to recall the fugitives, assur- 
ing them that they would receive no injury, so that there 
were some credulous enough to entangle themselves again 
in the snares from which they had already escaped. 

The troops conducted themselves in the same manner in 
the communes of Villaro and Eobbio, and in all the western 
hamlets they occupied. But, neither the poor inhabitants 
of these places, nor the persons who had taken refuge 
among them, had equal facilities with those of Angrogna 
for escaping. They had but two outlets to make their way 
to France, the defile of La Croix, and the defile of Giuliano 
(Julian), which opens upon Prali, whence they might reach 
Abries, all covered with deep snow; the first, moreover, 
guarded by the fort of Mirebouc, or Mirabouc, situated 
half way through the pass, and the other two prodigiously 
long and difficult, especially in the middle of winter in these 
Alpine countries. 

The circumstances not appearing to promise a more fa- 
vourable opportunity for the duke's troops, and as delay 
might frustrate their evil project, Saturday, the 24th of 
April, 1655, was chosen for the execution of the orders of 
the Council for the Propagation of the Faith and the Extir- 
pation of Heretics. 

How shall we rehearse such a tragedy ? It is Cain a 
second time shedding the blood of his brother Abel. 

'' The signal having been given on the eminence near La 
Torre, called Castelus" (this is the account of Leger, an 
eye-witness of these horrors,) " almost all the innocent crea- 
tures who were in the power of these cannibals had their 
throats cut like sheep in a slaughter-house ; what do I say ? 
they were not put to the sword like conquered enemies to 
whom no quarter is given ; nor executed by the hands of 
public executioners, like the most infamous criminals, for 
massacres of this kind would not have sufficiently signalized 
the zeal of their general, nor gained credit enough for those 
who executed his orders. 

" Children, cruelly torn from their mother's breast, were ' 
seized by the feet, and dashed and crushed against the 
rocks or walls, which were often covered with their brains, 
while their bodies were cast away on the common heaps : 
or, one soldier seizing one limb of these innocent creatures, 
and another taking hold of the other, would tear them 


asunder, then throw them at each other, or beat their 
mothers with them, and at hist hurl them into the fields. 

** The sick and aged, both men and women, were either 
burned in their houses, or literally cut in pieces, or tied up, 
stripped of their clothes, like a ball, with their head between 
their legs, and thrown over the rocks, or rolled down the 
sides of the mountains. After violating females, young and 
old, they forced flints into their bodies, or gunpowder, to 
which they set fire ; others they impaled, and in this 
horrible position, placed naked as crosses by the way side. 
Others were mutilated in various ways, and even portions 
of their bodies were fried and eaten by these cannibals. 

''As for the men, some were cut up while still lining, 
one member after another, like meat at the shambles. 
Others were hung up so as to* outrage all decency, or 
scorched alive, etc,"^'' 

*' The valleys resounded with such mournful echoes of 
the lamentable cries of the wi^etched victims, and the shi-ieks 
wrung from them by their agonies, that you might have 
imagined the rocks were moved with compassion, while the 
barbarous perpetrators of these atrocious cruelties remained 
absolutely insensible. 

''It is true that many of these bloody rufiians of Pied- 
mont, who were without children, on seeing these sweet 
creatures, beautiful as little angels, instead of kilKng them, 
carried them to their homes. It is also true that, whether 
from hopes of obtaining a ransom or other motives, they 
spared some of the higher classes, both men and women ; 
many of whom perished miserably in prisons. f 

" After the general massacre, the soldiers went in pursuit 
of the fugitives who had not been able to pass the frontier, 
and were wandering in the woods and mountains, or were 
languishing destitute of fire and food in remote sheds, or 
ill caves of the rocks; death in its most dreadful forms 
piu^sued them. Alas, for those who were discovered and 

* The details of these atrocities are given in Leger's History, pt. ii., pp. 116 
— 139, after having been collected and committed to writing by a notaiy on the 
testimony of eye-witnesses questioned in all the valleys by L^ger, on the re- 
turn of peace. i u ■ ♦ 

t The merciless marquis of Lucema and Angrogna had the barbarity w 
leave the cori^ses of those who had died in the dungeons in the im^dst of the 
prisoners. We may imagine what they must have suffered in their health and 
feelings, expecting every day to die, and forced to breathe, eat, and sleep, 
during the heat of simimer by the side of dead bodies in a state of putrefaction. 
— Leger, pt. ii., p. 139. 


taken! "When the houses of their victims had been 
pillaged, the soldiers made it an amusement, or shall we 
say, considered it a duty, to reduce them to ashes : villages, 
hamlets, temples, lone houses, barns, stables, "^^ buildings 
great and small, were all consumed. The beautiful valley 
of Lucerna, with the exception of Villaro and some buildings 
reserved for the Irish cut-throats, whom they thought of 
settling there, all these districts, hitherto resembling the 
rich soil of Goshen, were now more like the burning brick- 
kilns of Egyj)t. 

*' It was then," exclaims Leger, " that the fugitives, 
who had been snatched like brands out of the fire, could 
address God in the words of the 79th Psalm. 

' O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance ; 
Thy holy temple have they defiled ; 
They have laid Jerusalem on heaps. 
The dead bodies of thy servants have they given 
To be meat unto the fowls of the heaven. 
The flesh of thy saints 
Unto the beasts of the earth. 

Their blood have they shed hke water round about Jerusalem ; 
And there was none to bury them,' etc." 

" Our tears are no longer of water," wrote the Yaudois 
fugitives of Pinache to the Swiss evangelical cantons on the 
twenty- seventh of April ; ** they are of blood ; they do not 
only obscure our sight, they choke our poor hearts; our 
hands tremble, and our heads are stunned by the blows 
we have just received; strangely troubled, moreover, by 
fresh alarms, and by the attacks made upon us, we are 
prevented from writing to you as we wish ; but we pray 
you to excuse us, and to collect, amidst our groans, the 
meaning of what we would fain utter." f 

The court of Turin, in a manifesto published in Prench, 
Latin, and Italian, denied the greater part of the facts 
above narrated. The Roman Catholic historians have 
accused Leger of exaggeration in his recitals. We can 
imagine how a crime, after its commission, excites even 
in its authors and approvers an involuntary horror. Con- 
science protests; pride feels the ineffaceable blot on the 
honour of the guilty parties, and strives to veil it, by 
denying its reality. But the crime was not of that kind 
which could be concealed. Hundreds of victims had been 

* Every property of any considerable size, and remote, had its barn and 
t See Dieterici die Valdenses. Berlin, 1831, p. 66, 


seen lying mutilated, dishonoured, unburicd, in the fields 
and on the roads ; their names, and the manner of their 
death, were carefully noted. Why should thousands ot 
lamilies put themselves in mourning if this account were 
an exaggeration? Why did the commanding officer of 
a French regiment, the sieur du Petitbourg, whom the 
marquis of Pianezza, in his manifesto, calls a man of 
honoui% worthy of credit, resign his commission after the 
events in the vaUey of Lucerna, if it were not, as he has 
declared in an authentic document, that he would not be 
again present at such disgraceful scenes ? "I have been a 
witness," he says, " of numerous acts of extreme violence 
and cruelty exercised by the outlaws of Piedmont and the 
soldiers on persons of every age, sex, and condition, whom I 
have seen massacred, dismembered, hung, burned, violated, 
besides numerous dreadful conflagrations. When they 
brouo-ht persons to the marquis of Pianezza, I saw him 
crive "orders to kill them all, because his highness would not 
have people of that religion in any part of his domimons.' - 
The eyes of Protestant Europe were, moreover, assured 
of the reality of these atrocities. The ambassadors of the 
evano-elical cantons of Switzerland, of the United Provmces 
of HoUand, and of England, established and declared it. 
Theii' despatches, the letters of their governments, and their 
proceedings with the duke of Savoy attest it, as also the 
fiistory published by sir Samuel Morland, the envoy 
extraordinary of the Protector, a personage distinguished 
for his noble quaUties of heart and mind, and who visited 
the spot soon after the massacres. 

The only community in all the valley of Lucerna that 
escaped the vengeance of the army was the smaUest, called 
Rora, consisting of only twenty-five famihes, situated to the 
south of YiUaro and La Torre, on the right side of the 
Pelice, among the mountains, where it fonns a retu'cd glen 
between two low ridges, which descend to the east ol the 
maiestic pile of Eriolant. We may penetrate into this 
hollow by two roads, one which goes up from Lucerna, and 
the ordinai-v wav, and which winds in places precipitously 
above the mountain toriTiit, called the Lucerna; the other, 
which proceeds from the borders of the Pehce, and by the 

* See the authentic declaration of these horrors given by M. du Petitbour 
commanding officer of the regiment of Grance, m Leger, pt. u. p. lio. 


paths going from Bobbio and Yillaro, leads with, difficulty 
along rapid slopes turned to the north, passes by the foot of 
steep rocks, and when it reaches the top of the ridge goes 
down again into the lonely valley of Eora. Although 
spared at first by the army, this little commune was not 
forgotten ; for in spite of the reiterated promises of its lord, 
the count Christophe of Lucerna, in the name of the 
marquis of Pianezza, on Saturday the 24th of April, the 
day of the great massacre of the Vaudois, foiu- or five 
hundred soldiers received orders secretly to climb the 
path described above, which would bring them by the 
mountain of Rummer to Rora. They would have taken the 
district by surprise if, through the Divine mercy, they had 
not been discovered at a distance by a noble-hearted man, 
Joshua Janavel, who had left his residence at Les Yignes, 
near Lucerna, and had retired to Rora with his family. 
He was keeping watch on the rocks with six men. At the 
sight of the danger, instead of taking to flight, he advanced 
and lay in ambush in an advantageous spot. A sudden 
discharge of all the pieces of this little troop levelled six of 
their enemies to the ground, and terrified the head of the 
di-vdsion so much the more, as they could not see the 
persons who had fired upon it, and consequently could not 
tell their number. The soldiers, ah'eady prevented from 
keeping together by the inequalities of the road, were 
thrown by this occurrence into the utmost disorder. They 
fell back, rolled one over another, struck by the balls of 
Janavel and his six companions. They fled, without 
having the courage to face their pursuers for an instant, 
leaving, besides the first six, fifty-three or fifty-four others 
dead, lying on the path or in the precipices. 

The poor people of Rora, having escaped the danger, 
betook themselves to their count and the marquis of 
Pianezza to exculpate themselves, and to complain. To 
lull them into a false security, they were told that no 
division of the arm}^ had marched against them ; that those 
who had attacked them could only be Piedmontese robbers, 
whom they did well to chastise, and that strict orders would 
be given that no one should trouble them in future. But 
as it is a principle of popish morality, not to keep faith 
with heretics, on the very next day six hundred soldiers, 
chosen as the best fitted for mountain warfare, took a route 


somewhat different, by the Cassulet. Thej- did not escape 
the IjTix-eyed Janavel. This valiant and prudent wamor 
watched the movements of his perfidious enemy, at the 
head of twelve herdsmen anned with fusils, pistols, and 
cutlasses, and six others equipped only Avith slings and 
flints, which they knew how to use very effectively. Placed 
betimes, in ambush in flank and fi'ont, at a very advanta- 
geous spot, they poured on the head of the colimin a shower 
of balls and stones, of which each one struck down its man. 
The enemies, terrified by so rude an assault, and not 
knowing how to get out of the defile, nor how to pursue, 
amidst thickets and rocks, combatants who were generally 
invisible, sought safety in flight, leaving, as on the pre- 
ceding day, from fifty to sixty corpses. 

It would seem ahnost incredible that the count of 
Lucema should attempt to represent a second time to his 
vassals that the attack originated in a mistake, and that the 
like thing should not happen again. AMiat meanness, 
joined to such cruelty ! On the ibllo^ing day, from eight 
to nine himdred men siurounded Rora anew, and set fire 
to all the houses they could reach. It was to be feared 
that no one would escape ; but Janavel and his men, seeing 
the soldiers disband themselves, too eager for plunder and 
too sure of their victory, attacked them so com'ageously, 
and, with God's aid, so successfully, in a place called 
Damasser, that the whole division fell back by Pianpra 
upon La Toitc and Yillaro, abandoning their booty and the 
cattle they had taken, which had hampered them, and was 
a principal cause of their defeat. 

Imtated by these checks, Pianezza ordered a fourth 
attack, for which he assembled all his disposable troops, as 
well as aU the armed men that could be obtained fi'om 
Bagnolo, Barge, Famolasc, Cavor, and other places; but 
on the day appointed, the troops fi'om Bagnolo, commanded 
by the impetuous and cruel Mario, being at the rendezvous 
before the rest, who stiU delayed theii' coming, Maiio, 
urged on by his hatred of the barbets, and by the ambition 
of reaping the glory of the expedition, set out at the head 
of his band, a troop of Irishmen and some other detach- 
ments, and reached without opposition the hamlet of 
Rummer, where the families belonging to Rora had taken 
refuge. There Janavel' s seventeen comrades again managed 


to choose their point of defence so well, that they could not 
be forced, and after a long and obstinate resistance they 
saw signs of confusion and discouragement arising in the 
enemy's ranks. At this decisive moment, it pleased God 
to sow terror in the hearts of these troops that a few hours 
before were so proud and confident. They iled, leaving 
sixty-five dead on the spot. Their dismay was increased 
by the very effect of their hasty flight; and then, on 
arriving at a place called Petrocapello, where they hoped to 
be able to take breath, the unexpected attack of Janavel 
and his heroes, who had pursued them, completed their 
rout. Unable to escape with sufficient speed by the narrow 
road which goes by the Lucema, the wretched men pressed 
on one another, and fell from rock to rock into its waves. 
This was the fate of the great Mario himself, who was 
pulled out of the water only to die at Lucerna in inex- 
pressible anguish, tormented in his last hours by the recol- 
lection of the crimes he had committed in this valley. 

After so long a combat,, and a deliverance so miraculous, 
Janavel and his troop, harassed with fatigue, were seated 
on a height, and were refreshing themselves by a slight 
repast, when they observed a small body of soldiers from 
Yillaro climbing the mountain, and hoping, no doubt, to 
take them in the rear, placed, as they imagined, between 
two fires. They hastened to put themselves in an advan- 
tageous position. Their enemies, as they advanced, per- 
ceived them, and sent a detachment to reconnoitre. The 
Yaudois allowed them to advance, and when challenged, 
instead of giving the countersign, of which they were igno- 
rant, beckoned to them to come on. The soldiers, taking 
it for granted that they were papist peasants belonging to 
the expedition, pressed forward, and many met their death 
by point blank shot. Those whom the balls had missed fled 
with all their might, and threw the main body into disorder, 
which was exposed in a disadvantageous position on 
account of its decKvity, and all joined in the flight, without 
any of them having time to notice the number of their con- 
querors, who killed many more. After this fresh success, 
Janavel having assembled his troops on a rising ground, 
invited them, as he always did, to fall down with him on 
their knees, and return hearty and due thanks to Grod, the 
Author of their deliverance. 


Three days after, the marquis of Pianezza summoned the 
people of Rora, with tenible threats, to attend mass within 
four-and-twenty hours. " We prefer death to the mass, a 
hundred thousand times," was theii' reply. At length, the 
marquis, for the purpose of reducing five-and-twenty families, 
did not think it too much to assemble eight thousand 
soldiers and two thousand popish peasants. He divided 
this aiTuy into thiTe bodies, of which two were to penetrate 
into the district by the two roads already mentioned, namely, 
by the road of the Villar and that of Lucema. The thii'd 
crossed the mountains which separate Eora from Bagnolo. 
Alas ! while Janavel and his devoted troop made all possible 
resistance to the first division which presented itself, the two 
others reached the place where the poor families had taken 
refuge, and inflicted on them all the horrible cruelties we 
have akeady enumerated, and which oui* pen refuses to 
describe a second time. Old age, infancy, or sex, far from 
being a safeguard, seemed only to excite the fury and base 
passions of these men, whom no discipline kept in check. 
A hundred and twenty-six persons met with an agonizing 
death. The ^viie and thi'ee daughters of the captain Janavel 
were reserved for prison, as well as some refugees of the 
hamlet of Les Yignes in Lucema. Such houses as were still 
standing, were set on fii'e after everything valuable had been 
removed. The conquerors divided the booty among them- 

Janavel and his friends had escaped the disaster. Pian- 
ezza probably fearing the resentment of men who had nothing 
more to lose, wrote to the hero of Rora, offering him his 
own life and that of his vrife and daughters if he renounced 
his heresy, but threatening him on the contraiy, if he per- 
sisted in it, with the loss of his head, and that liis family 
should be burned to death. Far from being subdued by 
these menaces, this man, worthy of the name of Vaudois, 
replied, " That there were no torments so cruel, nor death so 
barbarous, which he could not prefer to abjuration ; that if 
the marquis made his mfe and daughters pass thi'ough the 
fire, the flames could only consume their poor bodies ; that, 
as for their souls, he commended them to God, trusting 
them in his hands equally with his o\vn, in case it were His 
pleasure that he should fall into the hands of the execu- 
tioners." One of his little boys, eight years old, had escaped 


the massacre. Janavel, almost destitute of provisions, 
powder and ball, made his way with his troop through the 
snows of the lofty mountains in the neighbourhood, carrying 
his child on his back, and having deposited him at Queyras, 
on the French territory, and rested a few days, he and his 
men repassed the lofty Alps, bringing with him a smaller 
number of refugees well armed. They returned to increase 
the little Vaudois army, which, since the massacres, had 
been forming on the mountains of Bobbio, Yillaro, and 

During these conflicts at Rora, the other valleys had also 
been threatened. The lords of San Martino had done their 
utmost to induce its inhabitants to make their submission 
and abjure the faith of their fathers, warning them seriously 
that a division of the army would invade and punish them 
if they refused to yield. Far from complying, they took 
up arms and succeeded by their courage in warding off the 
evils which had crushed the valley of Lucerna. The valley 
of Perosa also suffered ; but its calamities were far less 
aggravated than those we have described in the preceding 

Meanwhile, those who had escaped from Eora, Bobbio, 
Angrogna, La Torre, and San Giovanni, with whom were 
joined a few of their brethren from the other valleys, had 
armed themselves, and formed when they were all assembled 
together (not a very frequent occurrence), a body of about 
five hundred combatants. In most of the encounters, they 
mustered not above half this number, and often hardly one 
third. This little army, master of the mountains which were 
abandoned by the enemy after all the villages and hamlets 
upon them had been burned, was continually scattered 
abroad, either to obtain subsistence or to avoid danger, and 
then reassembled to fall unexpectedly on detached bodies of 
the Piedmontese army, which was stationed in the towns, 
villages, and hamlets, at the entrance of the valley of Lu- 
cerna. The Yaudois fought several battles in the latter days 
of May, and in the months of June and July. They obtained 
even considerable success under the conduct of the valiant 
captains Janavel and Jayer. This latter officer was from Pra- 
mol. In one of their expeditions, they surprised the town of 
San Secondo, which was filled with their enemies. By the aid 
of casks, which they had found in the first houses that were 


stormed, and rolled before them as a protection, they aj)- 
proached so near the fortress into which the governor had 
retired, that they burned the gate by means of bundles of 
"sdne-branches which they set on fire. They did tlie same 
at the door of a large hall, in which the soldiers, pressing 
one upon another, had taken their last refuge. These 
unfortunate creatures, mostly Irishmen, whose cruelty had 
been unparalleled in the massacres, could excite no pity in 
those whose sisters, daughters, and wives they had disho- 
noured, and whom they had deprived of fathers, mothers, 
and childi'en. They considered that they treated them with 
sufficient lenity by putting them at once to the sword, with- 
out any preparatory torture except the thought of death. 
Yery differently from their enemies, they spared the lives of 
the aged, of children, and the sick, and respected the females 
here as in all other places. In this manner they acted 
during the whole course of the war. Only, either by way of 
reprisal, or to deprive their enemies of this post, they set 
jBre to the town, after having taken out whatever could be 
carried away, a booty in which they found part of that which 
had been taken from themselves. The Irish regiment lost 
several hundred men by this defeat : the Piedmontese 
troops sustained about an equal loss. 

Encoiu'aged by this success, the little Yaudois army 
dared to approach Bricherasco, and to ravage the cottages 
or siuTounding dwellings.^' The alarm having been given 
by a signal agreed upon, they saw themselves assailed by 
all the Piedmontese forces in the neighbourhood, ])oth horse 
and foot. As they retreated in good order, they often 
charged the enemy with advantage, and retired with, only 
one killed and a few wounded. Shortly after this gallant 
troop appeared before the town of La Ton-e, which was 
fortified, and kept the garrison there in check. From the 
mountains of Angrogna, its head-quarters, it sent out a 
sti'ong division to attack the town of Crussol, in the upper 
valley of the Po ; at their approach, the inhabitants, who 
had done much mischief in the massacres, fled, abandoning 
their flocks, which the Yaudois drove to the Alps of Yillaro.f 
They found among the booty many of their own cattle. 

* It must not be forgotten that those troops hafl no other supply of provi- 
sions for their daily wants than what they prociu-ecl by such excursions. 

t One object of this expedition was to procure a fresh supply of cattle in lieu 
of those they had lost dui-ing the massacres. 


IS'otwithstanding the absence of the brave layer, who 
was engaged elsewhere, Janavel made a sudden attack on 
Lucerna ; but after two unsuccessful assaults he retreated, 
the garrison having been reinforced by a regiment, of which 
he was not aware on his arrival. 

Being attacked himself by three thousand of the enemy, 
on one of the heights of Angrogna, and having on his side 
only three hundred defenders, he still made head against 
them, and repulsed all their attempts. And when the 
assailants retired, about two o'clock in the afternoon, having 
lost, by their own confession, more than five hundred men, 
Captain Jayer suddenly appeared with his troop. The joy 
of his return raised the courage of the Yaudois beyond all 
bounds. Without thinking of their fatigue, they rushed 
into the plain, threw themselves with fury on their enemies, 
who were retreating, some to La Torre, others to Lucerna, 
and slew fifty of their men, besides three officers of distinc- 
tion. But, sad to relate, at the end of this fierce combat, 
the brave, the valiant, the pious Janavel fell. A ball passed 
through his breast. They expected every moment that he 
would breathe his last. He desired to speak to Jayer, who 
succeeded him in the command. He gave him some advice 
before he was carried to a distance from the field of battle 
to Pinache, in the valley of Perosa, within the French ter- 
tory, where by degrees he recovered. 

This day was destined to be a day of mourning for the 
valleys. Forgetting the counsel given by the (apparently) 
dying Janavel not to undertake anything more that even- 
ing, and as if it had not been enough to beat the enemy 
on their retreat, Jayer, too impetuous, and deceived by a 
traitor, who led him to expect immense booty in the direc- 
tion of Ousasq, advanced, at the head of a hundred and 
fifty picked men, to throw himself into the hands of his 
enemies. Having already pillaged and burned some cot- 
tages on the heights, he suffered himself to be led on by 
the traitor, with fifty of his men, towards some houses, 
where he was, all at once, surrounded by the Savoy cavalry, 
who having received an intimation of his coming, were 
waiting in ambush for him. Overpowered by numbers, 
Jayer died as a hero, together with his son, who never 
quitted his side, and all his companions, only one excepted. 
He killed three ofi&cers, and fell, alter a long defence, 


covered with wounds. Leger has described him in the fol- 
lowing words : ''A great captain, worthy of being held in 
remembrance ; zealous for the service of God, alike capable 
of resisting allurements and threats ; courageous as a lion, 
and meek as a lamb, rendering God alone the praise of all 
his victories : his character would have been complete had 
he known how to curb his adventurous boldness." 

The valleys, disheartened for a brief interval, were re- 
animated by the voices of captain Laurent, of the valley of 
San Martino, and of a brother of Jayer, and of several 
others. In a conflict maintained by theii' little troops 
against six thousand of the enemy, they slew two hundred 
men, among which was the lieutenant-colonel of the Ba- 
varian regiment ; but on their side they lost the excellent 
captain Bertin, of Angrogna. 

At the beginning of July, the Yaudois had the satisfac- 
tion of seeing the arrival of many of their brethren in 
arms from Languedoc and Dauphine ; one of them, named 
Descombies, an experienced and renowned officer, was soon 
after made commander-in-chief. Colonel Andrion, of Ge- 
neva, who had distinguished himself in France and Sweden, 
as well as in the valleys, arrived at the same time.'^' The 
moderator, Leger, just returned from a long and rapid 
journey, which he had been making in France and Switzer- 
land, on behalf of the valleys, proceeded immediately, with 
colonel Andrion, to the mountain of Angrogna, called La 
Tachere, where the little Yaudois army had thrown up some 
entrenchments. The enemy, as if they had had notice of 
their arrival, and to prevent the impulse which it might 
give to the energy of these persecuted herdsmen, went up 
to take them by surprise, very early on the follo^-ing morn- 
ing, with all their forces, among whom were some fresh 
troops. The Yaudois, being timely warned by their scouts, 
were able to concentrate themselves in the fortified position 
of Casses.f The duke's army divided into four bodies, of 
which one remained in observation as a reserve, made the 
assault on three points at once, almost incessantly for 
nearly ten hours, and at last, breaking through the biirri- 

* M. de Barcelona also came thither from the Pays de Vaud. (Re^nie Suisse. 
Lausanne, 1840, iii. 270.) 

t A remarkable succession of fragments of rocks scattered over a long sur- 
face, forming, with the dechvity of the mouiitain from which they had been 
detached, a barrier veiy difficult to pass. 


cades, forced the Yaudois to retreat, pursuing tlieni with 
the cry of ''Victory! victory!" to the foot of the last 
fortified height, on which they took refuge as their last 
earthly asylum. But their heavenly Protector so strength- 
ened them, that although the enemy often attacked them 
at the distance of a pike's length, they defended themselves 
mthout abandoning the post. Their supply of powder and 
ball began to fail, which would have been fatal, had they 
not at the instant had recourse to their slings, and also 
rolled down fi-agments of rock, which, often splitting in 
pieces in their rapid course downward, struck even the 
furthest detachments. JSToticing at last some hesitation 
and disorder in the enemy's ranks, they sallied forth at 
once from their entrenchment, a pistol in one hand, and a 
cutlass (a cubic in length, and two or three fingers broad,) 
in the other, and struck such terror in the exhausted popish 
troops, that they sounded a retreat. More than two hun- 
dred soldiers were slain, and as nianj severely wounded. 
The Bavarian regiment lost some of its best officers. 

It was on the return of these disappointed troops, and at 
the sight of the wounded and the dead, that the syndic 
Bianchi of Lucerna, although a papist, playing on the nick- 
name of barbets, (synonymous with dogs,) given to the 
Yaudois, exclaimed, ''Formerly the wolves devoured the 
dogs, but now the time is come for the dogs to devour the 
wolves ;" a speech that cost him his life. 

On the 1 8th of July, at night, the Yaudois army, at least 
eighteen hundred strong, owing to the reinforcements from 
France, of whom between sixty and eighty were horsemen 
lately mounted, invested the town of La Torre, and would 
probably have taken it by assault, and the fort too,"^' if the 
new general Descombies, who commanded for the first 
time, had better understood the ardour and intrepidity of 
the mountaineers under his orders. He lost time in recon- 
noitring the fort. The alarm was given, the Piedmontese 
regiments, in garrison at Lucerna and elsewhere, arrived, 
and the enterprise failed. Nevertheless, captain Belin and 
lieutenant Peironnel, (also called Gonnet,) forced the wall 
of the convent of the Capuchins, took possession of it, and 

* The fort here spoken of was not that situated to the north of the town, the 
niins of which are still to be seen ; it was a fortified place, situated within the 
town itself, and which had been raised during the war. Leger, pt. ii., p. 26.1. 


set it on fire, as they did the rest of the towTi, made prison- 
ers of some reverend fathers, and did not retire till the 
enemy's reinforcements, joining the beaten troops of La 
Torre and those of the fort, pressed them on every side. 

General Descombies, full of confidence in his little aiTay, 
was about to make another attack on the fort of La Torre, 
intending to march afterwards on Lucerna, when a truce 
was concluded, and after a while a treaty, which put an 
end to all the military operations of the Vaudois. But, 
before speaking of this negotiation, we must go back a 
little, to show the effect produced by the massacres and 
persecutions of the Yaudois on the Protestant populations 
of Europe and their governments. 

A cry of reprobation had resounded throughout all the 
reformed countries, on hearing the bloody recital of the 
cruelties inflicted on their brethren in the valleys of Pied- 
mont. A thrill of horror pervaded the whole Protestant 
body. Bitter tears were shed at the remembrance of the 
dead ; and at the recital of the woes endured by the sur- 
vivors, the necessity of coming to their aid seized all hearts, 
both of rulers and their subjects alike. It is a fact deserv^- 
ing of perpetual record, that the reformed nations were 
moved as the heart of one man, and presented to their 
brethiTn in the faith a beautiful exam])le of Christian 
charity. Almost all the churches humbled themselves 
before God by a solemn day of fasting and prayer in refer- 
ence to the valleys ; liberal collections were made at the 
same time in every district, to foi^nish those who had 
escaped with the means of subsistence, in that total des- 
titution to which the fiuy of their enemies had reduced 
them, to rebuild their houses that had been bui^ned down, 
to procure agricultural implements, and the necessary sup- 
ply of cattle of which they had been deprived. 

But what would this succour have availed, to whatever 
extent it had been given, if the poor persecuted Vaudois 
had been left without protection, under the hea^y- and 
painful yoke of iron which galled their neck ? Something 
more was needed than pecuniary aid, or than letters ot 
sympathy and consolation ; it was requisite that Chi'istian 
charity should be shown, by direct application to the Pied- 
montese government, to obtain from it assurances and 
guarantees of peace in reference to the oppressed. 


TMs interference of Christian charity was spontaneous, 
as it ought always to be, like all the fruits of the gospel. 
The court of Turin persisted in attributing it to the 
requests, complaints, and entreaties made by the valleys to 
the reformed governments. This is to misconstrue, or not 
to know, the force of the brotherly love that unites the 
disciples of the truth, it is even to doubt the heart of man ; 
for where Christian sentiments might not have been power- 
ful enough to inspire generous efforts in behalf of brethren 
in misfortune, humanity alone would have dictated them. 
It is true that the valleys made their tried friends in Swit- 
zerland acquainted with their alarming situation. Could 
they help doing so ? Are our tears to be concealed from 
our most intimate friends ? It is possible the Vaudois had 
anticipated, that they had even hoped, that their brethren 
would raise their voices in their behalf. But who could 
blame them for so doing ? Is it required that the unfor- 
tunate should renounce all hope of exciting the sjonpathy 
of others ? Does the recital of his misfortunes constitute 
a crime? ISTone but a tyrant will pretend that it does. 
For if so, every letter of a victim would be an accusa- 
tion ; every lamentation of an oppressed people, a cry of 

The honour of the first movement in favour of the 
persecuted Yaudois, belongs to the evangelical cantons of 
Switzerland. Their religious zeal and their charity shone 
with the purest lustre ; their anxiety had been manifested 
before the massacres. In fact, scarcely had they been 
informed of the cruel order published by Gastaldo, when 
they wrote to the duke, on the 6th of March, a most 
respectful letter, in which they entreat him to allow his 
Yaudois subjects to remain in their ancient habitations, and 
to insure them liberty of conscience by the maintenance of 
their hereditary privileges.^' And when the news of the 
massacres reached them, rapid and overpowering as a tliun- 
derbolt, they forthwith, on the 29th of April, appointed a 
fast and collections through all their territories, and on the 

* In the answer of the duke to the evangehcal cantons, he accuses the Vau- 
dois of a fact which was slanderously imputed to them, of a farce acted at La 
Torre, by children, on Christmas day, 1654, in a masquerade, where an ass 
cut the principal figure. It was afterwards proved that these children were 
papists, and thus the Vaudois were cleared from the charge of insulting theii* 
neighbours in their reUgion. L6ger, pt. ii., p. 203, 204, 


next day they informed the Protestant powers, in pathetic 
epistles, of what had occnrred in the Yaudois valleys of 
Piedmont, calling upon them to interest themselves in their 
future fortunes. As for themselves, without waitin^i^ for 
the effect of their suggestions, they deputed colonel de 
Weiss (or de Wyss), of Berne, to the court of Turin, with 
directions to place in the hands of the dowager duchess, 
and of Charles Emmanuel, a letter of intercession in favour 
of their afflicted hrethren. 

The Swiss deputy accompKshed little by his mission ; 
he was received, it is true, by their highnesses, but was 
referred, for negotiations, to the deceitful and fanatical 
Pianezza, wdth whom he could make no arrangements. 
This man attempted to employ him to disarm the per- 
secuted Yaudois ; but de "Weiss, not being able to guarantee 
them an honourable treaty, things remained in the same 
state in which he foimd them. At all events, he ascertained 
the real state of affairs by personal observation. He re- 
turned soon after to render an account of his mission to his 

The evangelical cantons, far from being discouraged by 
having obtained nothing, resolved to send an embassy to 
offer their mediation between the two parties actually in 
arms, and which should strive to obtain for the Yaudois, 
from the duke, liberty to dwell in any part of the valleys, 
the restoration of their possessions, and the free exercise of 
their religion. The cantons, by fi^esh communications, in- 
formed the Protestant states of the situation of the Yaudois, 
as well as the steps which their deputies were going to 
take, and irndted them to support theii' intervention by 
letters, or still better, by ambassadors. 

All the Protestant powers answered to this appeal. Be- 
sides the collections which they ordered in all their towns 
and country places, they all ^Tote to the duke of Savoy to 
entreat him to act differently with his subjects of the Pro- 
testant religion. The king of Sweden, the elector Palatine, 
the elector of Brandenbiu'gh, the landgrave of Hesse Cassel, 
gave special proofs of theii' great zeal in the management 
of this affair ; but the greatest efforts proceeded from the 
cantons already named, fi'om Great Biitain, then imder the 
protectorate of Cromwell, and the United Pro\-inces of 
Holland. England, still agitated by its own religious move- 


ments, entered warmly into the case of the Yaudois, ftxsted 
and made liberal collections. Oliyer Cromwell displayed 
great zeal, wrote to the Protestant states, and interfered by 
an embassy, first to Louis xiv., allied to the house of Savoy, 
and whose regiments had taken part in the massacres, and 
afterwards to Charles Emmanuel. Sir Samuel Morland, a 
young diplomatist equally intelligent and pious, attempted 
to interest the French monarch in giving succour to the 
victims of his own soldiers, and received at least some 
promises. On his arrival at Turin, at the end of June, he 
obtained an audience, and having expressed a severe judg- 
ment on the atrocities committed, he claimed from the 
justice and generosity of the prince, in the name of his 
government, gentler measures, and the re-establishment of 
the Yaudois in the enjoyment of their property, their 
ancient privileges and their liberties. 

While Sir Samuel Morland was on his way to Geneva, 
towards the end of July, the lord protector of Great Britain 
sent a new plenipotentiary to Turin, sir — Dunning, who 
alter having seen sir Samuel Morland, was directed to visit 
Piedmont, in company with him and Mr. Pell, the English 
resident in Switzerland, in order to conduct the settlement 
of the affairs of the Yaudois and bring them to a successful 

At the same period, the states-general at the United 
Provinces, deputed for the same object, M. Yan Ommeren, 
with orders to act in concert with the English ambassador 
and the evangelical cantons. The latter had already des- 
patched their ambassadors at the commencement of the 
month. They did not meet sir Samuel Morland, who had 
returned from Geneva by another road. Sir — Dunning 
and M. Yan Ommeren arrived in Switzerland still later. 
The embassy of the evangelical cantons found itself there- 
fore alone in the effort to accomplish this difficult mission. 
This was a great evil. The absence of the envoys of Great 
Britain and the United Provinces gave a decisive influence 
to the Roman Catholic party, represented by the ambassa- 
dor of the king of France, and permitted the hasty con- 
clusion of an arrangement which was far from advantageous 
to the poor Yaudois. 

While on their way, the Swiss ambassadors were informed 
that the mediation of the king of France in the affairs of the 


Yaudois had been accepted by the duke, nevertheless they 
continued theii' journey, and met with an honourable recep- 
tion. This embassy consisted of Solomon Hirzel, Stadt- 
holder of Zimch, Charles de Bonstetten, baron de Vaumar- 
cus, etc., counsellor of Berne, Benedict Socin, counsellor of 
Bale, and Jean Stockar of Schaffhauscn, formerly a magi- 
strate of Locarno. Under pretence that the acceptance ot 
the mediation of the king of France would not allow^ an 
aiTangcment to be made with any other party, the court of 
Turin would not enter on the discussion of the subject with 
them, but allowed the ambassadors to follow the negotiation, 
and to interest themselves about the Yaudois. The dejDuties, 
in consequence, betook themselves to Pignerol, at that time 
a city belonging to France, some leagues fi'om the valleys, 
which the ambassador of France, de Servient, had assigned 
to the parties for their abode. 

The arrangement was a work of labour. The first fort- 
night in August was spent in recriminations and explana- 
tions, in animated debates, in suing for their Kberties on the 
part of the Yaudois, in insidious proposals from some dele- 
gates of the court, and in friendly offices on the part of the 
evangelical commissioners. -'' At last, on the 1 8th, the agree- 
ment was concluded, and the peace signed. The conditions 
would have been doubtless more advantageous to the 
Yaudois, if the ambassadors of Great Britain and the United 
Provinces, as well as those of the evangelical cantons, had 
been present. Sir Samuel Morland, it is true, w^'ote from 
Geneva to the Swiss deputation, requesting them to protract 
the negotiations, and if possible, to put off the conclusion 
of the treaty till their arrival, which would be at no distant 
time. But it is doubtful whether these diplomatists would 
have been allowed to exercise any direct interference, since 
the mediation of the king of France had been accepted by 
the duke, and the Protestant princes themselves had 
solicited the concurrence of that ambitious monarch who 

* The narrative of the negotiation would have been very instructive and 
useful. It would have set in a clear Ught the intentions of those hard-hearted 
men who felt no regret but that of not having been able to get rid of the barbets ; 
but we have abstained from speaking of it at length, because our narrative is 
already too full of harrowing scenes, and atrocious acts which provoke indig- 
nation, and if multiphed, would banish aU charity from our hearts. 

The king's representative, Servient, endeavoured to entangle the Vaudois 
deputies and to gain their consent to proposals of which he concealed the 
bearing, and which tended to destroy them. See, for instance, his conduct in 
reference to the fort of La Torre, in Leger, pt. ii., p. 264. 


now claimed to act alone. Moreover, the deplorable state 
of the valleys required a speedy settlement. Plundered, and 
a prey to all the miseries of war, they sighed after repose. 
Their families, without provisions and without homes dur- 
ing two months, could wait no longer. Their representa- 
tives, with the pastor Leger at their head, all persons in 
whom they could confide, thought they did well in accept- 
ing conditions which, without being entirely satisfactory, 
secured to them a dwelling-place in the greater part of their 
ancient limits, the sale of their goods in some localities 
which it would be necessary to leave, and the free exercise 
of their religion throughout the whole extent of the new 
limits, besides exemption fi'om all imposts for a certain term 
of years. The release of all the prisoners, including the 
children who had been carried off, and a full amnesty, were 
also stipulated at the same time. 

The districts which the Yaudois were interdicted from 
settling in, and in which they must dispose of all their 
goods, were the following communes, mostly popish, in the 
plain of Lucerna, and specified in Gastaldo's order, namely, 
Lucerna, Lucernette, Bibbiana, Penile, Campiglione, Gar- 
sillana. Permission was granted them to reside in La Torre 
and San Giovanni — an amendment of Gastaldo's edict — but 
with the reservation that the temple of San Giovanni was 
not to be within the commune, and that there should be no 
preaching in that commune, any more than in the town of 
La Torre. San Secondo was closed against the Yaudois, but 
the possession of Prarustin, Saint Barthelemi, and Poche- 
platte, was allowed them, as in times past, together with 
the exercise of their religion in those villages. Liberty to 
dwell in the city of Bricherasco might be obtained by special 
license. These alterations excepted, the limits remained 
the same as before. The other communes of the valleys 
of Lucerna and Angrogna, Perosa, and San Martino, re- 
tained their privileges. 

The duke reserved to himself the right of celebrating 
mass, and placing priests or monks in whatever places he 
thought proper ; but in return he guaranteed to all liberty 
of conscience, and the exercise of their worship, within the 
new limits. A separate article confirmed the ancient fran- 
chise, the prerogatives, and privileges granted and settled 
in times past. The act was attested by the duke's signa- 


ture, and that of some of his ministers. The numerous 
dej)utation from the valleys also signed it. It was ratified 
by the senate and chamber. 

IS^otwithstanding the ui'gent request of the deputies from 
the valleys, no mention was made in the act of the inter- 
cession of the Swiss embassy, as the French ambassador 
refused his consent that any other name than his master's 
should weaken, by sharing it, his title of mediator. 

The Yaudois suffered two other mortifications — that of 
seeing themselves described in the preamble of the treatj' 
as rebels, to whom their prince had graciously remitted the 
punishment which their offences deserved ; and, secondly, 
of reading in the printed edition of this charter an article 
expressing the consent of the valleys to the erection of a 
new fort at La Torre, shamefully interpolated, in order to 
effect the ruin of the poor Yaudois. All their deputies 
protested against tliis infamous trickery. The 8wiss am- 
bassadors, who were present at the treaty, declared they 
had no recollection of such an article. Moreover, during 
the whole of the negotiation, they had insisted on the 
demolition of the existing fort, which was promised them. 
They even at one time manifested an intention of not 
leaving Tmin till they had been apprised that the de- 
molition had been begun. 

We should have preferred passing over in silence such a 
misdeed ; but the mention of it was requisite in order to 
understand subsequent events. 

The plenipotentiaries of Great Britain and the United 
Provinces, who had been detained in Switzerland by busi- 
ness during the negotiation at Pinerolo, felt great dis- 
satisfaction on learning that it was tenninatcd; for they 
wished to obtain better conditions for the Yaudois. They 
exerted themselves to induce the evangelical cantons to 
make fresh proposals to the duke, with a view to revise 
and modify the treaty or charter of Pinerolo. But the 
war which broke out between the Catholic and evangelical 
cantons would not allow the latter to involve themselves in 
fresh perplexities. The commissioners of Great Britain 
and the United Provinces then turned towards Paris, and 
solicited fr^om Louis xiv. the revision of the treaty, of 
which he was the mediator. The king did not absolutely 
refuse. M. de Bais was sent to the valleys and to the 


court of Turin to collect fresh information ; but it is pro- 
bable that this mission was undertaken merely to save 
appearances. One thing is certain, that nothing came of it. 
Louis xiY. and Charles Emmanuel were quite of one mind. 

It now remains for us to state the amount, as near as 
may be, of the sums collected, in the Protestant states, in 
aid of the desolated valleys, and the use that was made 
of it. 

On the 25th of July, the sums received from France 
amounted to 200,000 francs. From the beginning of 
March, 1655, to the 1st of l^ovember, 1656, the Yaudois 
had received from France, England, Holland, and Switzer- 
land, upwards of 504,885 francs, and from the city of 
Zurich alone 3778 florins."^ 

It would appear, however, that the sum total was even 
more than this. We are led to believe so from the fact stated 
by Leger, — that of the collections made in England, the 
Protector deducted and pledged the state for £16,000 ster- 
ling,! equal to 400,000 French francs, the interest of 
which was to be employed to pension the pastors, school- 
masters, and students of the valleys, etc.;}: If a sum of 
400,000 francs could be deducted for an object which was 
not strictly identical mtli that for which the collections 
were made, their amount must necessarily have been at 
least as much again, and even more than that.§ And if 
to the 400,000 or 500,000 francs which must have been 
sent from England, we add the 200,000 sent by the French 
Protestants in the month of July, 1655, and the sums 
which came from Switzerland, Holland, and Germany, we 
shall have a total sum of more than a million francs. 

It was thought proper at the time, for prudential reasons, 
which may easily be imagined, not to publish to the world 
the large amount of donations sent by the charity of the 
Protestants. I^evertheless, accounts carefully prepared 

* Revue Smsse, t. iii., p. 273, for this last sum. 

t M. George Lowtlier says " more than fr^velve thousand pounds sterhng." 

X This sum was lost, in great part, on the accession of Charles ii., who 
would not acknowledge the engagements of the Protector as valid. 

§ In fact, the smn total of the Enghsh contributions is reckoned at 917,784 of 
French francs, including the above sum of 400,000 francs. (See " Cathohcism," 
etc., by George Lowther, vol. i., p. 294, pubhshed in 1827.) 

[The Protector gave 2000/. out of his own private pm-se. The sum total of 
the collections arnounted to 38,241/. 10s. 6d., of which the cities of London and 
Westminster contributed 9384/. 6s. lid. Jones's History of the Waldenses, 
2nd ed., 1816, vol. ti., pp. 345, 367. The sums collected in each county through- 
out England and Wales are given in Morland's EQstory, p. 588.] 


were rendered by the consistories of Geneva and Grenoble, 
to whom all the sums had been sent, and who supenntendcd 
their disti'ibution by commissioners. These officci-s, in 
concert with the general assembly of the valleys, had 
determined what coui'se to pui-sue in the distributions ; they 
formed a scale of division according to the losses sus- 
tained and the cii'cumstances of the conmiunes, as well as of 
individuals, leaving to competent persons appointed by 
the communes the particular appraisement of damages and 
estimate of the relief needed. Lastly, a commission of four 
members, all sti'angers to the valleys, was employed for 
three whole months in revising all the accounts of distri- 
bution, visiting the places, and there, in the presence of the 
assembled commune, hearing the appeals and giWug the 
final decision. The proceedings of this commission were 
afterwards approved, and all the accounts adopted, by the 
consistories of Grenoble and Geneva, aftei-wards by the 
synod of Dauphine, and lastly by the national synod of 

jSTevertheless, strange and calumnious reports were put 
in circulation to the discredit of liiose members of the 
valleys who took part in the management of this business. 
The principal promoter of these falsehoods was a man 
named de Longueil, once a Jesuit, a pretended convert to 
the gospel, to whom the school at Yillaro had been 
intmsted. The second person was the same Bertram 
Yilleneuve who had been bribed by Pianezza, and in 1653 
had almost effected the iniin of the valleys by proposing the 
expulsion of the monks from Yillaro, and the burning of 
their dwelling. These men contiived their plot in secret, 
conjointly with two other accomplices. They made the 
envious and discontented — a class of people that always 
abound when anything is to be given away — believe that a 
considerable sum was left, wliich the chief persons in the 
valleys had set apart for themselves, and which, if divided 
amongst all, would give each one a dividend of five hundred 
livres at least, perhaps fifteen hundi'ed. The credulous 
people, whom these deceivers had filled with discontent, 
deputed some of their number to make a complaint to the 
French synods; but the examination which was made 
afresh of all the accounts confounded the accusers, and 
wiped away all suspicion fi'om the accused. Yet so iadus- 



triously had the enemies of the Yaudois propagated this 
calumny, that it was still credited by a number of dis- 
trustful persons. The European public, even the Pro- 
testant part of it, gave a partial credit to it, which sensibly 
injured the Vaudois when they were visited with new deso- 
lations in 1663 and 1664. 

The wicked one did not mean that the vivid interest 
which all the reformed churches had latterly taken in the 
persecuted inhabitants of Piedmont should become strength- 



If the foregoing period has presented us with a melancholy 
spectacle, and filled our ears with the machinations of the 
great, the furious outcries of Pomish assassins, and the groans 
and sobs of victims, that on which we are entering will be 
hardly less distressing; Though less bloody, it will exhibit 
new proofs of the inveterate hatred which the Council for 
the Propagation of the Eaith and the Extirpation of Heretics 
cherished against the poor peaceable mountaineers, — a 
hatred which could not be extinguished but by the re- 
moval and ruin of those who were the objects of it. 

The ambassadors of the evangelical cantons of Switzer- 
land had recrossed the Alps, carrying with them the 
consoling remembrance of the efforts they had made to 
obtain a tolerable peace for their brethren in the valleys. 
Some verbal promises of the agents of the court had given 
them a hope that the treaty in which they had concurred 
would be executed in a comprehensive and liberal manner. 
Moreover, it had been agreed that the fort of La Torre 
should be demolished at as early a period as would consist 
with the honour of the duke, who was not to appear 
submissive to his subjects. But the facts by no means 
corresponded with the words. Not only the clauses of the 
charter of Pinerolo that were most unfavourable to the 
Vaudois were maintained in all their rigour, but all haste 
was made to execute the article which had been deceitfully 

* See Gilles, ch. Ix. — Mi, ; Leger, pt. ii., pp. 57—260 ; for all this chapter. 


foisted into the printed copies, and which, contrary to the 
promises that had been made to the Swiss embassy, declared 
that a fortress should be built on the ancient site of the 
castle of La Torre, demolished by the French in 1593. The 
deputies of the erangelical cantons had not yet (piittcd 
Turin when the works were abeady begun, and the founda- 
tions of a formidable fortress laid on the very spot 
where the soldiers of the count de la Trinite had committed 
so many acts of violence, and whence Castrocaro had issued 
his commands over the whole valley. Hirzel and his 
colleagues, having received timely information, demimded 
an explanation. They were told that what had been done 
would not last long, and would never be finished; tliat 
these works were merely to save the duke's honoiu\ 

Faithful to the traditional Helvetic loyalty, the ambas- 
sadors, incapable themselves of deceiving, did not suspect 
falsehood in a government which pledged its Avord. They 
therefore encouraged the disturbed and anxious Yaudois, 
and advised them to be patient and submissive.* The 
Yaudois were certainly not quite so confiding : experience 
of the past, and the nearness of the danger, served to 
enlighten them ; yet they submitted, habituated as they 
were to bow to the will of their sovereign on all points not 
within the province of religion. The works were pushed 
on Avith so much vigour, that, before winter, the place was 
in a state of defence, and in the following year the fortifi- 
cations were fijoished. 

If the erection of a citadel occasioned the Yaudois serious 
apprehensions for the futui'e, the powerful garrison that 
was placed in it became an immediate and constant source 
of humiliation, injury, and vexation. The soldiers com- 
mitted all sorts of excesses, and seemed sure of impunity in 
most cases. It constituted their amusement to lay waste 
the orchards and vineyards, to enter the houses, seize upon 
whatever they pleased, glut themselves with wine and 
provisions, to spoil or scatter on the ground what they 
could not caiTy away, to iU-trcat those who attempted _ to 
protect their property, and to conduct themselves with 
indecency towards the females, old and young. To strike 
^-ith the sabre, to discharge fire-anns, to take what was 

* Hirzel wrote in 1662 to L^ger, " We have been too weU ^ght by expe- 
rience the deceitful practices of this court." L^ger, pt. ii., p. -60. 

294 msToiiY OF the yaudois chuech. 

not their own, to outrage the weaker sex, were daily occur- 
rences : even rape and assassination were committed. When 
complaints were made, they led to no result. ''Seize the 
offenders, bring them to me, and I engage to punish them," 
said the commandant De Coudre ; hut when, one day, some 
peasants brought before him two soldiers whom they had 
apprehended in the act of robbing a house, and ill-treating 
its owners, the commandant sent them to prison, only to 
release them as soon as the complainants had turned their 
backs. Informations laid before the j)resident Truchi, or 
the magistrate, even when accompanied with the necessary 
documents stating the nature of the offence, and describing 
the culprits, remained without effect. In consequence, on 
several occasions, the Yaudois, irritated with the increasing 
audacity of their bad neighbours, might be seen defending 
their threatened property, or recovering it with their own 
hands, when they found themselves the strongest. 

To this permanent source of disquietude another was 
very soon added. Accusations, without reason, were made 
against persons of note. The Council for the Propagation 
of the Faith and the Extirpation of Heretics, could invent 
no more certain method of getting rid of men whose influ- 
ence they feared, or to intimidate such as might be disposed 
to tread in their steps. Accordingly, all at once thirty-eight 
persons in the valley of Lucerna received orders to proceed 
to Turin, to answer such questions as should be put to 
them. The valiant captain Janavel, the hero of Eora, was 
one of them. The first two summonses contained no 
explanation. The thii'd and last alone mentioned the crime 
imputed to them, and denounced their condemnation for 
contumacy if they refused to present themselves. This 
mode of proceeding was contrary to the grants and privi- 
leges of the valleys, confirmed by the charter of Pinerolo. 
Eegularly they were not bound either on a first or second 
suit for a criminal or civil cause to answer elsewhere than 
before their own tribunals. To this first reason for not 
appearing at Turin might be added a second, of much 
greater importance. The Inquisition had its seat at Turin. 
The right it always arrogated of seizing its victims w^herever 
it found them, in spite of the safe conduct of princes, and 
of removing them from their jurisdiction, to treat them as 
it pleased in its own dungeons, was well known. Every 


one knew vrhat was to be expected, wliethcr from its justice 
or its mercy. Alas for the ^ man who became ac(iuaintcd 
with either the one or the other ! We need not be sur- 
prised, then, that of the thirty-eight accused i)crsons, only 
one, John Fina, of La Torre, surrendered himself into the 
hands of the senate at Turin ;* the rest declined doing so. 
They were condemned for contumacy, some to the galleys, 
others to death. The property of all was conliscatcd, and 
a price was set upon their heads. It was forbidden to 
grant them an asylum : an order was given to hunt them 
do^vn at the sound of a bell, whenever the presence of any 
one of them was made known. This sentence served as a. 
pretext for the soldiers at the fortiTss of La Toitc to enter 
any private dwelling by force, and to commit a thousand 

From this time, the valleys were filled with trouble and 

Hitherto the Yaudois had enjoyed the free exercise of 
their religion, and satisfied with that, they were resigned 
to the evils we have mentioned, sufiiciently happy to be able 
to worship God according to their consciences. But their 
hearts were harassed with apprehensions, when, in 1657, 
through the whole extent of the church and the commune of 
San Giovanni, all public exercise of religion was forbidden ; 
not only the sermons which were interdicted by the charter 
of Pinerolo, but catechisms, prayers, and even schools. The 
valleys justly took the alarm at this prohibition. The 
charters and ducal concessions all set forth that the usual 
exercises were maintained in all the places where they were 
practised at the date of the promulgation of the said con- 
cessions or charters. But aged men, a hundred years old, 
besides the authentic acts and protocols of general councils, 
cbawn up in the presence of the lords and judges of the 
place, attested that the chuix-h of San Giovanni had always 
enjoyed the privilege of public religious sen-ices, like the 
other parts of the valleys. Hitherto there had been no 
dispute, excepting about the erection of a temple, to whidi 
the authorities were opposed, without ever denpng to the 
inhabitants of San Giovanni their ancient right of assem- 
bling for the exercise of their religion. If, then, the church 

* He remained one year in prison, after which he was released, \Tithout 
ha\'ing been confronted with his accuser. L^ger, pt. ii., p. 2&9. 


of San Giovanni, and the other chm^ehes of the valleys, 
allowed all evangelical or Yaudois worship to be abolished 
in San Giovanni without making any resistance, what would 
soon become of the other churches ? For who could doubt 
that the success obtained over one of the most enlightened 
and firmly-established churches, would encourage the Coun- 
cil for the Extirpation of Heretics to impose the same pro- 
hibition on all the rest ? 

The Yaudois church, whose very existence was put in 
jeopard}'- by this attempt on its liberties, held a synod to 
deliberate on the measures its present situation called for. 
The assembly held in March, 1658, at Pinache, decided on 
addressing a petition to his royal highness, and on writing 
to his ministers, humbly to request the revocation of the 
severe orders proscribing all religious services in San Gio- 
vanni. It seemed also desirable to engage the good offices 
of M. Servient, the French ambassador, as mediator of the 
charter of Pinerolo, and those of the evangelical cantons 
who had taken so much interest in it. It was, moreover, 
decided that the pastor of San Giovanni ought to continue 
the performance of the usual religious services there, since 
their cessation might be detrimental to their liberties. 
Lastl}', knowing that the Lord of heaven and earth could 
alone bless their design, and insure success to their mea- 
sures, the assembly ordained a solemn day of fasting and 
prayer, during which no one, the infii'm excepted, should 
leave the temples from sunrise to sunset. In thus resolving 
to defend the liberty of worship that had been attacked 
in the church of San Giovanni, we can affirm that the 
churches of the valleys were not led away by a narrow or 
cavilling spirit, nor by blind ambition, nor by the vanity 
of their pastor Leger, as their adversaries affirmed. They 
judged that it would have been criminal in them to allow 
the liberty of serving God according to the rules of their 
ancient faith, to be taken from them by men. 

We shall not enter into the details of the petitions ad- 
dressed to their sovereign, nor of the memorials forwarded 
to his ministers. The cause of the church of San Giovanni 
was defended on the ground of right according to the prin- 
ciples laid down in the ducal grants and charters. All that 
could be advanced in favour of the menaced church was 
said ; but in vain. The resolution, it appeared, had been 


taken beforehand, to seize again, by these means, an occa- 
sion for troubling the valleys. Nevertheless, there was 
probably some hesitation in high places, respecting- tlie 
opportuneness of the occasion, and the ulterior maniur of 
proceeding with the recusants. Perhaps, also, and we are vcrj- 
ready to believe it, the recollection of the recent intercession 
of the Protestant states fettered the impatient movements 
of the council for the propagation of the lloman faith. AVe 
are led to think so from the part which the embassy of the 
evangeKcal cantons, on retiu^ning to their native country-, 
continued to take in the affaii^s of the Taudois. They 
wrote, for this purpose, on the 30th of ^N'ovember, 1657, to 
Servient, the ambassador of Prance at Turin, the mediator 
of the charter at Pinerolo, and to the two principal agents 
of the duke in this affair, to commend the unfortunate 
Yaudois to their justice and equity. 

To put down the resistance of these poor people, they 
sought at first to gain Leger. A count of Saluzzo repaired 
to the valleys, and requested a conference Avith him ; which 
Leger would not grant, except in the presence of the deputies 
of his own church and of the other churches. This attempt 
being rendered abortive by the firmness of the pastor, was 
soon followed bj^ threatening citations, requiring the said 
Leger to render an account of his conduct at Tmin. The 
tliird citation specified his crime. He was accused of having 
assumed the fimctions of a pastor, of having taught certain 
docti'ines, and kept a school at San Giovanni, in the house 
of the commune. Six of the piincipal persons among his 
parishioners were cited with him. Their crime consisted 
in having been present at rehgious services conducted by 
their pastor. This took place in May, 1658. Their know- 
ledge of the manner in which the authorities were accus- 
tomed to proceed in similar cases, as well as the unlimited 
confidence placed in judges, who were almost all meml)ers 
of the Council for the Extirpation of Heresy, deterred every 
one of the accused fi'om going to Tuiin. None of their 
friends advised them to do so. The churches wrote in 
their favour to the count and to the judges. They addres.sed 
several letters to his highness himself. A milder sentence 
might have been expected. But, after about three years of 
waiting, applications, and deputations, a sentence of death 
was pronounced against Leger, and ten years' confinement 



in the galleys for the other accused parties. The property 
of all was to be confiscated. "With this sentence hanging 
over him, Leger, by concealing himself, and continually 
changing his place of refuge, succeeded in remaining for 
some months longer in his native country, till towards the 
end of 1661, when the valleys deputed him to interest the 
evangelical cantons and the Protestant states in their cause. 
He was instructed to request them to employ their inter- 
cession with the duke, and their good oflS.ces with the king 
of France in his capacity of mediator of the charter of 
Pinerolo, to obtain the consent of Charles Emmanuel to 
examine for himself the complaints of his Yaudois subjects, 
and to judge respecting them, without leaving them at the 
discretion of the Council for the Extirpation of Heretics. 

Hardly was Leger's departure to the cantons and evan- 
gelical states known, than a sentence of death still more 
cruel was pronounced upon him.'^* He was hung in effigy ; 
his houses were razed to the ground ; and his propert}^, 
which was considerable, was confiscated. The house of the 
valiant Janavel, who was at that time a fugitive, was in like 
manner demolished. 

The ducal government resisted all attempts at an accom- 
modation ; and, however conciliatory were the letters of the 
Protestant princes, f which colonel Holzhalb, of Zurich, the 
envoy of the evangelical cantons, presented to his royal 
highness with those of his superiors, in July, 1662, they 
produced no eff'ect. Charles Emmanuel replied that he had 
exactly fulfilled towards his Vaudois subjects all theii' char- 
ters ; and representing them as being charged with crimes, 
declared them to be undeserving of intercession. It would 
seem that the duke of Savoy, surrounded by the members 
of the Council for the Extirpation of Heresy, believed that he 
was acting in full accordance with his rights, and imagined 
that his subjects in the valleys were rebels, because they 
would not consent to the loss of some of their principal 
religious liberties. 

* He was to be strangled. ; then Ms body was to be linng by one foot on a 
gibbet for four-and-twenty hours ; and lastly, his head was to be cut off and 
pubUcly exposed at San Giovanni. His name was to be inserted in the Ust of 
noted outlaws : his houses were to be burned, etc.— Leger, pt. ii., p. 275. 

t The principal letters were from the elector palatine, the elector of Bran- 
denburgh, the landgrave of Hesse, and the states-general of Holland. Leger 
not having been able to visit England, the king of Great Britain had not in- 
terposed.— L^ger, pt. ii.; pp. 277—282. 


Moreover, at the moment when Charks Emmanuel made 
this answer to the envoy of the evangelical cantuns, liis 
minister Pianezza, whose influence over him was unbounded, 
had just obtained, by his intrigues, a success which autlio- 
rized him to persist in his policy, imd to relincpiish nothing 
of his pretensions. By the intei-vention of the popish ad- 
vocate, Bastie, of San Giovanni, in whom the Yaudois of that 
commune had some confidence, he had made them believe 
that by consenting to an act of submission they would obtain 
the religious liberty they wished for. These simi)le-minded 
men, easily imposed upon, had at last, although with reluc- 
tance, written and signed two documents, namely, a promise 
that they would not catechise or perform other religious ex- 
ercises in the commune of San Giovanni ; and, in the second 
place, a petition in which they requested that they might 
continue these practices as heretofore. At the same time, 
they sought for some commercial and other pri-\-ileges. Bastie 
had solemnly engaged not to give up their promise till the 
decree sought for in their petition had been granted and 
placed in their hands. But the contrary of what was 
pledged to them actually took place. Pianezza retumed 
the promise, and contemptuously rejected the request, when 
he had read the second article which spoke of religion. 
ITpon this, the Yaudois were advised to present another 
petition, in which no mention should be made of their reli- 
gion ; and they were at the same time promised that then 
all they wished for would be granted, and that they would 
be left undisturbed. But, ashamed and mortified at having 
been deceived on this point, they refused to make any fur- 
ther concessions. They had already placed themselves in 
a wi-etchedly false position by the imprudent promise depo- 
sited in the hands of the pi4me minister. They were not 
disposed to put the finishing stroke to the catastrophe by 
fresh imprudences, which their cra% enemies knew well 
how to turn against them. 

If the Yaudois aff'airs made little progress at court, if 
the efforts of their friends there were fruitless, their situation 
was not more improved in the valleys. On the contrary-, it 
became continually more involved, in consequence of the 
violent measures of the governor of the fort of La Torre, 
and by the reprisals in which the exiles indulged. 

The commandant De Coudi^e was succeeded by an officer 


named De Bagnols, who had signalized himself by his cruel 
zeal in the massacres of 1655. The friendship of the mar- 
quis of Pianezza, his godfather, and his near relationship to 
the count Ressan, well known for his hatred to the Yaudois, 
and by his success against them in the valley of Barcellonette, 
had procured his nomination to this post, for which he was 
so well suited. This officer fully justified the confidence 
placed in him by his distinguished patrons : he behaved so 
violently and unjustly that the count of Saluzzo, in his 
Military History,*^ allows that ''this governor abused his 
power, and gave the Yauclois just grounds of complaint." 
He had scarcely arrived when he imprisoned a great number 
of unfortunate persons, and treated them with harshness. 
He also commissioned an officer of justice to force alleged 
confessions from them, and to oblige them by some means 
or other to sign them under the promise of bettering their 
position, but in reality to establish their criminality by 
reciprocal accusations. De Bagnols, moreover, relaxed the 
discipline of the soldiers, who indulged with impunity in 
outrages of every kind. He did more ; he established at 
Lucerna a noted bandit, Paol (Paolo, or Paul,) de Berges, 
who had been condenmed for murder, but pardoned on the 
occasion of the marriage of his highness. This man of 
blood having gathered round him about three hundred vil- 
lains, plundered the valleys in concert with the troops in 
the fortress. Such was the terror inspired by Paol de 
Berges and De Bagnols that in that year, 1662, the inhabit- 
ants of San Giovanni, La Torre, Bora, and Les Vignes of 
Lucerna being panic-stricken, took to flight the instant they 
had finished the harvest. 'No one felt secure in any part 
of the lower valley. Whole families retired daily to the 
high mountains, into the woods, or to the French territory in 
Pragela, or to Queiras. On their dej^arture, the garrison 
carried ofi" the wine and oil, and the best of whatever was 
left by the fugitives; the neighbouring j)apists took the 
remainder. Then, as if by withdrawing, the unhappy vic- 
tims of oppression had committed a crime, De Bagnols 
issued orders in the name of his bigness. May 19, 1663, 
that all such persons should return, under severe penalties 
in case of disobedience, within three days, and surrender 

* Histoire Militaii'e du Piemont, (Military History of Piedmont,) Turin, ISIS, 
t. ii., p. 336. 


themselves at the fortress, -svithout nnj' exception of age, 
sex, or condition. The knowledge of the sutfcrings that so 
many victims would endure, crowded in the foil of La 
Torre, prevented the majority from thinking of going 
thither ; but some individuals ventured to return to their 
homes, for the sake of being allowed again to cultivate their 
lands. But how bitterly they repented ! They were imme- 
diately surrounded. Etienne Gay was beheaded; his brotlier 
was wounded and dragged into the fortress with some women 
and girls, who there suffered unspeakable toraients. And 
rather later, when a similar order had been pu])lished on 
the 25th of June in the same year, and some credulous 
householders had retui'ned to their own friends, they were 
perfidiouslj' surrounded and menaced with death, not only 
by the troops of the governor, but also by an amiy assem- 
bled for their desti'uction. 

The vigour previously displayed against a great number 
of the A'audois condemned for contumacy, and latterly 
against the persons dwelling in the vicinity of the fortress, 
had forced the former to take arms for the protection of 
their lives, which were in constant jeopardy, and the second 
to join themselves in great numbers to the exiles whose 
courage excited their o^vn. Joshua Janavel, the hero of 
Eora, who had been condemned to be quartered, and then 
to have his head exposed on an eminence, saw gathered 
round him exiles and fugitives whom Ids great coui-age, 
intrepidity, prudence, and consummate experience had tilled 
with confidence. Amounting now to two or thi'ee hundred, 
they presented, either in small detachments, or in one body,^ 
an armed resistance, which was fonnidable to the troops of 
De Bagnols and Paol de Berges ; sometimes even, throwing 
themselves suddenly on their enemies, they met with signal 
success. Thev were also seen, it is time, attacking the 
peaceable inhabitants of Bricherasco, at Bibbiana, for I'xam- 
ple, and even pillaging the churches of their adversanes ; 
so that frequently the reproach was cast upon the exiles of 
leading the lives of banditti.. But we must not forget, in 
judging of their conduct, that they were quite homeless, and 
that the feeling of the injustice with which they were 
treated, as well as the prospect of the ruin to which their 
valleys were devoted, did not always allow of their practis- 
1112: the moderation that was desii'able. 


While the commandant of the fortress of La Torre or- 
dered the fugitive families to return to their homes, Jana- 
vel exerted his influence to prevent their doing so : but 
before the 25th of June, which was the fatal term, arrived, 
and the number of those who had returned could be ascer- 
tained, an army commanded by the marquises of Fleury 
and Angrogna, appeared at the entrance of the valley of 
Lucerna, and surrounded San Giovanni. The Yaudois, till 
then undecided, could no longer doubt of the intention to 
destroy them, and took arms, having placed their families 
in security in those distant places to which they had retired 
in preceding persecutions. 

Whatever accusations have been brought against the Vau- 
dois, whatever ajDpearance of imprudence may have marked 
their conduct in the judgment of certain persons, yet their 
history contains facts which demonstrate their probity and 
their sincere and affectionate desire of always pleasing their . 
prince. We shall here give a striking example of this. 
The Yaudois population in arms closed against the duke's 
troops the passage which led to the bottom of the valley of 
Lucerna, which rendered it impossible to convey supplies 
to the fort of Mirebouc, situated in the mountains, towards 
the French frontier, and then destitute of provisions and 
miKtary stores. The duke's generals called together the 
principal persons of the communes, and requested them to 
give their sovereign a proof of their submission and good 
intentions, by escorting a convoy which was on its way to 
the fortress, assuring them that if they consented, peace 
would soon be re-established. It is difficult to believe so 
extraordinary a fact, but the proposal was actually com- 
plied with. The devoted Yaudois feared less to risk their 
own safety, than to appear to distrust their prince, and 
to refuse to give him a pledge of their love. They con- 
ducted the convoy to its destination, and the fortress which 
closed against them the passage to Trance was victualled 
by their own good offices.* 

Their devotedness was scarcely noticed by their enemies, 
who were accustomed to attach little value to the best 
words or the noblest actions of those whom they believed 
worthy of the greatest evils as heretics ; for while the 

* Some weeks later they consented to guard another convoy, tliough a war 
of extermination was then beiag waged against them. 


Vaudois, trusting in the promise that had hoen made to 
them, were preparing to come down again from the moun- 
tains and biing back their families to the phdn, De Fleun- 
marched into the heart of the vaUeys with the inti'ntion (»f 
attacking the heights of La Yachere, between Angrogna antl 
Pramol, where their principal fortifications and their best 
entrenchments lay.^ On the 6th of July, at day-break, 
the enemy ascended the mountains at four different i)oints, 
San Secondo, and Bricherasco, La Costiero de San Gioyanni, 
and Le Chabas (Ciabas.) The first two divisions under the 
orders of Fleiuy, forniing an effectiye force of four thousand 
men, met on the hill of Plans (Plans), between the yalleys 
of Lucerna and Perosa, and there fortified themselves by 
an entrenchment of turf, the height of a man, before 
they attempted to force the narrow pass called the Gate 
of Angrogna, which was occupied by a detachment of 
Vaudois. f The two other diyisions, of the same strength, 
commanded by De Bagnols, climbing to the lower plains of 
Angrogna, on the side of San Gioyanni and La Toitc, di'oye 
before them the six or seyen hundred mountaineers that had 
been collected, with some diffi-culty, at this point ; but when 
they reached the rocks and ruins of Ptoccamaneot, cele- 
brated ah'eady for more than one yictor}*, the Vaudois 
posted themselyes adyantageously, stopped the enemy, 
wearied them out, decimated their ranks, strewed the 
ground with their corpses, and when their courage failed 
and they began to retreat, charged them in their turn, and 
pursued" them to the plain, on which they dared not to 
venture in sight of the reserye of cayalry that was stationed 

Haying left a party to keep watch on these heights, they 
directed their course towards Plans, where De Fk-urj- had 
entrenched his diyision. But the little detachment at the 
Gate of Angrogna no sooner saw their brethi-en at their 
side, than two of their number, Boirat of Pramol and 
another, crawling on all fours, and concealed by a rock, 
approached the camp, killed each a sentinel, cleared the 
rampart, slew four more of the enemy, and kept shouting, 
''Forwards! VictorjM" The Vaudois, roused to enthu- 

* In the war of 1655, Pianezza was never able to capture them, 
t By forcing this passage, the enemy could attack the defenders of Rocca- 
maneot in the rear. 


siasm, followed in their footsteps with unparalleled ardour. 
The Piedmontese army, surprised and disconcerted, could 
not form their ranks, and sought for safety in a rapid flight. 
Their generals, the marquises of Fleury and Angrogna, 
Leger tells us, "■ fearing the bite of the dogs (the barhets), 
were not the last to run away." The number of men slain 
in the rout was considerable. 

The vanquished army took their revenge some days after. 
They surprised and massacred a detachment of five-and- 
twenty men at Rora. They burned down between twenty 
and thirty houses that formed the hamlet of Sainte Mar- 
guerite, in the commune of La Torre. JN^evertheless, these 
little successes could not make up for the losses sustained 
at E-occamaneot, Plans, and other jDlaces besides. The 
command of the army was taken from the marquis de 
rieury, and given to the marquis de St. Damian. The 
army itself was reinforced. But while it was repairing its 
losses and recovering from its fatigues, negotiations were 
entered upon at Paris and Turin in favour of the Yaudois. 

The duke of Savoy chagrined with the turn the Yaudois 
affairs had taken, so little to the credit of his policy or his 
military skill, fearing also the friendly intervention of the 
Protestant powers, appeared desirous that the king of 
France, whose feelings against the evangelicals agreed with 
his own, and who already in 1655 had been, by his ambas- 
sador, arbitrator of the treaty of Pinerolo, should again offer 
his mediation in the present posture of affairs. Servient, 
who had been charged with the former mediation, received 
in consequence, orders to betake himself to Turin, and to 
effect an accommodation between the parties. This was 
about the end of the summer of 1663. 

But, on the other hand, the friends of the Yaudois were 
not aslcej). The evangelical cantons, in agreement with 
the Protestant powers, sent, on their part, ambassadors to 
Turin, to take in hand the defence of their brethren in the 
faith. The Swiss deputies, Jean Gaspard Hirzel, a dis- 
tinguished magistrate of Zurich, and colonel de Weiss, a 
senator of Berne, arrived in the course of JS^ovember, 1663, 
at Turin, where, without losing time, they interceded in- 
favour of the poor inhabitants of the valleys, and requested 
favourable conditions for them. The court consented to 
their amicable intervention as friends and advocates of the 


Yaudois, but would not accept them for arbitrators. The 
valleys, although rejoiced at the presence of such protectors, 
hesitated about sending deputies to Tui'in, where the Inqui- 
sition might lay hold of them in spite of their safe conduct. 
Yet they decided on not losing so good an opportunity of 
negotiating peace. 

The delegates of the yalleys, on their arrival, requested 
a suspension of hostilities during the whole period of the 
negotiation. Without refusing it, the court made as a con- 
dition of it, that the villages of Pranistin and St. Barthe- 
lemi should be given up to the troops ; a point to which the 
delegates had not power to assent. The conferences then 
began, leaving this important question undecided. This 
was imj)rudent ; for eight days had not elapsed, wlien the 
news reached Turin, of a battle fought on the 25th of De- 
cember, along the whole extent of the Yaudois lines. The 
marquis of Saint Damian, strengthened by the anival of 
fresh troops, had attacked simultaneously all the points of 
approach to the valley of Angrogna, from St. Germain 
in the vale of Perosa, to TaiUeret in the valley of Lueenia. 
More than twelve thousand men had attacked twelve or 
fifteen hundred. The Piedmontese had been repulsed ^vith 
loss in all their attempts to peneti^ate the mountains. In 
spite of their numerical superiority, they had always been 
driven back upon one another ; but they had been com- 
pletely successful in their attack on the villages situated 
at the foot of the moimtains. They had made them- 
selves masters of St. Germain in the valley of Perosa, 
having attacked it fi^om the French territory, — an in- 
fraction of which the Swiss dei^uties complained after- 
wards in a memorial to Louis xiv. ; and had occujned 
Pranistin, St. Barthelemi, and Rocheplatte. _ This affair 
deprived the Yaudois of all their positions in the open 
country ; but it demonstrated, like the prcA-ious attempt, 
the impossibility of driving them out of their fastnesses in 
the mountains. 

On hearing of this combat, the delegates of the valleys at 
Turin reques'ted that they might rejoin their families. The 
Swiss deputies, on their part, made strong repr(>sentations to 
the ministers of his royal highness, who consented at last to 
sign a truce for twelve days; a truce which was continued 
fi^om week to week till the conclusion of the negotiations, 
two months later, in Pebruary, 1664. 


The conferences began at Turin at the Hotel-de-Ville, on 
the 17th of December, 1663. There were eight of them in 
all. On the part of the duke, there were present the pro- 
moter of the war, the author of the massacres of 1655, the 
formidable and sagacious marquis of Pianezza, and the coun- 
sellors of state, Truchi, De Gresy, and Perrachino, who had 
already represented his highness at the conferences ofPine- 
rolo, nine years before. The ambassadors of the evangeli- 
cal cantons were present as witnesses and advocates of the 
valleys, who were represented by eight delegates, of whom 
two were pastors.^' It was agreed that everything which 
was proposed and answered, on both sides, should be com- 
mitted to writing, and signed hj a secretary of his highness 
and by the secretary of the Swiss embassy, | The duke's 
ministers did their utmost to convict the Yaudois of rebel- 
lion. With this view, they imputed all the crimes commit- 
ted by the exiles to the whole population, making no distinc- 
tion whatever between them : at least they wished to make 
the latter responsible for all the acts of violence committed 
by the former, alleging that they ought to have delivered 
them up, had they disapproved of them. This mode of 
arguing was specious, but nothing more. Por if the duke's 
troops could not master these determined men, how could 
people who were of unwarlike habits and badly armed ? 

The minister of his royal highness also made it a crime, 
that the Vaudois had quitted their houses and withdrawn 
to the mountains, that they had not returned home when 
they had received orders to that effect ; and lastly, that they 
had defended themselves and resorted to arms. Here it 
was not difficult for the oppressed to prove that they had 
been forced to these extreme measures by the violence of 
power, and in particular by the vexations, injustice, and 
cruelties of the governor De Bagnols and his soldiery. 

It appeared difficult to effect an accommodation between 
the parties, the duke' s ministers being disposed to regard the 
Yaudois only as rebels; and the Yaudois, in their turn, feel- 

* Pierre Baile, minister at St. Germain ; David Leger, minister at Chiots 
in the valley of San Martino ; Jacques Bastie, of San Giovanni ; Andre 
Michelin, of La Torre ; David Martinat, of Bobbio ; Jacques Jahier, of Pramol ; 
Francois Laurent, and his son David. Afterwards the minister Ripert took 
the place of Ledger. 

t Their proceedings were published at Turin the same year, under the title 
of Conferences faites a Turin, etc. (Conferences held at Tui'in), by Jolin 
Sinibaldo, 1664. 


ing themselves in danger of becoming ^-ictims, and requir- 
ing the strongest guarantees to give them confidi'nce. 

At last, by the persevering efforts of the Swiss ambassii- 
dors, some points were settled which seemed as the basis of 
the edict of pacification or charter, which Charles Emma- 
nuel granted his Yaudois subjects on Tebi-uary 14, KiCi. 
In its form and terms, this act was an anmesty. The sove- 
reign consented to pardon. Yet, for the sake of his repu- 
tation, and to maintain his authority, he required a satisfac- 
tion and a guarantee of obedience on the part of the Yau- 
dois. But out of respect for the princes and republics that 
had interceded for them, and particularly on account of 
the mediation of the king of France, his roj-al highness 
consented to submit the decision of these two points to his 
most Christian majesty, Louis xiv. 

By this new act, all the Yaudois, excepting a list of 
persons formerly condemned, thirty-six or thirty-seven, 
were pardoned, and admitted to the benefit of the charter of 
Pinerolo in 1655. For greater clearness, the third article 
of the aforesaid charter, relative to San Giovanni, which 
had been interpreted so differently by the two parties, was 
explained in this sense : — " Eveiy religious ser^•ice, sermon, 
catechism, prayers, school, excepting family worship, is 
forbidden throughout the whole extent of the commune : 
no pastor can be admitted to reside in it, though families 
may receive his visits twice a year, and the sick according 
to their need. In case of necessity, in one of these visits 
the pastor may sleep a night in the commune. The school, 
if the parents do not prefer sending their childi'en to that 
which the duke intends to establish, must be removed to 
Chabas, in Angrogna." An article of the charter imposed 
the obligation of obtaining the prince's consent for ever)- 
foreign pastor who might be called to the valleys, and who, 
besides, would be obliged to take an oath of fidelity. As 
for the rest, these restrictions excepted, liberty of worship 
was insured by the charter of Turin, as by the former one, 
to the ancient churches of the valleys. 

It will be obvious, that though apparently the new edict 
placed the Yaudois in the same situation as that secured by 
the charter of Pinerolo, which was inferior to the preceding, 
they had, in fact, lost many of their privileges. The evan- 
gelical public worship had been entirely and expressly taken 


away from the chiu'ch of San Giovanni, as well as its school. 
The admission of the necessary pastors had been limited. 
Still, if by these new and disadvantageous conditions, the 
affairs of the valleys had been definitively arranged, some- 
thing would have been gained ; but we must not forget that 
the charter of Turin placed it in the power of the king of 
France to determine what satisfaction aud what guarantee 
of obedience the Yaudois ought to give their sovereign. 

This important point was debated in the course of May, 
after the departure of the Swiss ambassadors, at Pinerolo, 
a city at that time belonging to the French, before M. 
Servient, ambassador of Louis xiv., by the duke's mini- 
sters and the delegates of the valleys. The satisfaction 
claimed by the duke of Savoy was a pecuniary one. His 
agents presented a schedule of claims amounting to more 
than two million francs, for the charges of the war and the 
extraordinary expenses of the state, besides damages done to 
the communes and private Catholics. What a sum for poor 
husbandmen and shejDherds, at the end of a war which had 
laid waste their fields, dispersed their cattle, and burned 
many of their villages, which were scarcely rebuilt since 
their almost total destruction nine years before ! — Two 
million francs for a population of only five thousand souls ! 
a demand fraught with ruin ! 

As to the guarantees of obedience claimed for the future, 
they were six in number, of which we shall only mention 
tliree. The duke demanded, (i.) that his popish delegate 
should be present at all the synods, and other assemblies of 
the same kind; (ii.) that the ministers should cease from 
occupying themselves with civil affairs, and that the com- 
munes should not discuss together their civil and political 
interest, but only separately; (iii-) that three or four 
towers similar to the Tourras de Saint-Michel should be 
built at the expense of the valleys, to be garrisoned by a 
sufficient number of soldiers, at the expense of the aforesaid 
valleys, to put down revolt, should it be required, and to 
maintain free communication from one valley to another. 

When the evangelical Swiss cantons had been informed 
of the demands of the court of Turin, and were apprised 
that all the documents relative to this affair were to be 
submitted to Louis xiv. himself, they svrote to this 
monarch in favour of their clients, and sent to the king of 


England and the states-general of Holland an account of 
what had transpired, which led to similar movcineuts to 
their own on the part of these states. Such zeal and inter- 
vention from such high quarters exerted, no douht, a happy 
influence on the arbitration of a monarch who was other- 
wise so little disposed to favour oppressed Protestants. In 
his perplexity respecting the duke, a long time elapsed 
before he arrived at a decision, which, after about three 
years, he gave on Januaiy 18, 1667. Moreover, idthough 
he proceeded on the admission of the culpability of the 
Yaudois, by condemning them to make a pecuniary satis- 
faction to their sovereign, and guarantees of obedience for 
the futiu'e, yet, in fixing the indemnity and the proofs of 
submission, he made such abatements from the demands 
of the duke's government, that in fact the rights of the 
Vaudois rather gained by it than received an injur)-. 
Instead of the two million jfrancs or more, at which the 
satisfaction had been estimated, Louis xiv. fixed it at fifty 
thousand Piedmontese li^Tes, payable in ten years. As for 
the guarantees of obedience, the Yaudois were required to 
give an act of submission duly attested and confinned by 
an oath ; they were also to consent to the presence of a 
ducal commissioner in their sjTiods, and to some other 

As for the rest, Charles Emmanuel did not abuse his 
victory. Ear from that, this prince, more enlightened, it 
would seem, as to the real interests of his government, imd 
more free, since the death of his mother Christina, to follow 
the generous movements of his own heart, rendered justice 
to his Yaudois subjects. He recollected the zeal they had 
displayed for his cause in 1638, 1639, and 1640, when a 
great part of his subjects had taken sides with his uncles 
against him. Einally, the war which he had to carrj- on, 
in 1672, against the Genoese, and in which the Yaudois, 
flocking to his standard at the first appeal, ser^'ed him 
with extraordinary devotedness and the greatest courage, 
completely brought back his heart to his faithful subjects. 
Satisfied with their conduct, he assui'ed them of his entire 
approbation, in a letter full of kindness, — a restorati^•e balm 
for the deep wounds that fanaticism and the malice of his 
servants had inflicted. The Yaudois, happy to possess a 
place in the affections of their sovereign, hoped to live a 


long time in peace under his paternal sceptre ; but he died 
on the third of June, 1678.-'' 

The Yaudois continued to enjoy some years of peace, 
under the regency of the duchess, the widow of Charles 
Emmanuel, and under the government of their son, Yictor 
Amadous ii. It was at this time that they gave a fresh 
proof of devotedness to their prince, in marching against 
the banditti of Mondovi, and assisting in bringing them to 
submission ; but at the very time when they might reason- 
ably have indulged the delightful expectation of a durable 
peace, they saw themselves all at once menaced with the 
greatest misfortunes, and dragged into ruin. Barbarous 
orders spread terror through the valleys. Yery soon they 
had no choice between apostasy and death under a thousand 
forms, or exile. 

Let us describe these melancholy scenes, and their 
origin : 

A monarch to whom the world has given the name of 
Great, Louis xiv., who reigned over the country on the 
western side of the Piedmontese Alps, the powerful king- 
dom of France, attempted to atone for the vices of his 
dissolute life by the forced conversion of the Protestants in 
his kingdom to poj)ery. Such an undertaking could not fail 
to assure him of plenary indulgence from the sworn foe of 
evangelical Christians, namely, the pope of Eome; and 
while he deprived his subjects belonging to the reformed 
religion of all their civil rights, and revoked the edict of 
Nantes by which they were guaranteed, while by these 
cruel measures he drove to apostasy, or forced into exile, 
the worthiest part of the French nation, he urged his 
neighbour, the young duke of Savoy, to abolish also the 
Yaudois church. 

Yictor Amadous, though young, had sufficient penetration 
to shrink from coming to such extremities with subjects 
who were serving him faithfully. f He generously and in 
a Cliristian spirit resisted this pernicious temptation, until 

* He was only forty-one years old. On his death-bed, with a sentiment of 
affecting humility, he gave orders to admit all persons indiscriminately into 
liis chamber, in order, said he, that people may know that princes die like 
other men. 

t Arnaud, whose testimony certainly cannot be suspected, gives this cha- 
racter of him in the preface to his Histoire de la Glorieuse Rentree des Vaudois 
dans lem-s VaUees, (History of the glorious Retm'n of the Vaudois to theii- 
Valleys,) printed in 1710, and reprinted at Neufchitel, by Attrnger, 1845. 


M. dc Eebenac Feuquiercs, the French ambassador, liavin"- 
told him one day that the king his master would find the 
means of di-iving away these heretics with fourteen thou- 
sand men, but that he would keep the vallej's they inhabited 
for himself, he was obliged, by this kind of menace, to 
take other measures; and judging that it concerned his ovn\ 
honoui' and interest to prevent a foreign power from gi^'ing 
laws to his own subjects, he preferred persecuting them 
himself. A treaty was concluded on this footing. Louis 
XIV. promised an armed force to reduce them. 

The valleys had a presentiment of their fate, when, a few 
days after the news of the revocation of the edict of Xantes 
(October 22, 1685), they heard on Xovember 4th a procla- 
mation prohibiting every stranger from staying there more 
than three days without the governor's permission, and 
every inhabitant fi'om lodging them under pain of severe 
chastisement. But what was their alarm when all at once 
from one end of the valleys to the other the alarming words 
of the edict of January 31, 1686, resounded, ordaining the 
complete cessation of every religious sei'vice except the 
Eomish, under pain of death and the confiscation of pro- 
perty ; the demolition of the temples of the so-called 
reformed religion ; the banishment of the ministers and 
schoolmasters, and in future the baptism of all the children 
by the popish priests, who were to educate them in the 
Eomish religion. This effect annulled all the liberties ac- 
knowledged and confirmed by the house of Savo}' from age 
to age, and from reign to reign, since the valleys had come 
under their sway from the beginning of the thirteenth cen- 
tury. All hearts were oppressed by unspeakable teiTor. 
No traditions or recollections could produce an edict equally 
iniquitous. The vaUej's had never been menaced with so 
great a danger ; never, at least with one so imminent. If 
they were unable to alter the duke's determination by their 
enti^eaties, nothing remained but to take anns and defend 
themselves even to death : for the Yaudois, descendants of 
the martyrs, would not think of apostatizing. But it was 
in vain that they supplicated their prince : their natural 
protector, ordained by God to defend the oppressed, to 
administer justice, remained deaf to their cries. Some delay 
in the execution was all they could obtain. Despairing 
of bending the duke, seeing the French and Piedmontese 


troops concentrating themselves on the confines of their 
valleys; and lastly, hearing the insulting menaces of the 
papists in the vicinity, they took some defensive precau- 
tions, and prepared for resisting in case of an attack. 

Meanwhile the news of the almost incredible edict of the 
31st of January, excited in all the Protestant countries 
indignation and pity. The German princes, Holland, and 
England, wrote to the duke. The evangelical cantons of 
Switzerland, whose friendship and protection had already 
proved so useful to the Yaudois, did not act inconsistently 
with their previous conduct. Having addressed a letter to 
the duke, which remained unanswered, they decided, in an 
assembly held at Baden in February, 1686, on sending an 
ambassador to Turin, to take in hand the defence of their 
brethren in the faith. The counsellors of state, Gaspard de 
Muralt of Zurich, and Bernard de Muralt of Berne, chosen 
for this mission, arrived at their destination at the begin- 
ning of March. They assigned as a reason for their inter- 
vention, not only the agreement of their faith with that of 
the Yaudois, but the interest they took in what concerned 
the charters of 1655 and 1664, which were in part the fruit 
of their mediation, but which the edict of January 31st 
annulled. In the memorial they presented, they urged in 
favour of their oppressed brethren the pressing motives of 
tolerance. Especially they founded a cogent argument on 
the historical view of the question. They represented that 
the churches of the valley of Piedmont had never separated 
from the religion of their prince, since they had lived in 
that which they had received from their fathers more than 
eight centuries ago, and which they professed before passing 
under the domination of Savoy ; that the ancestors of his 
royal highness having found them in the possession of their 
religion, had maintained it by various concessions, princi- 
pally by those of 1561, 1602, and 1603, confirmed in 1620, 
at the price of six thousand half-ducats ; all these acts 
establishing, as a perpetual and irrevocable law, the right 
of the Yaudois to exercise their very ancient religion. 
They also called to mind, that in spite of the error of Gas- 
taldo and the trouble excited by his ordinance, the father 
of his highness had acknowledged and confirmed the pri- 
vileges of the Yaudois by two solemn, perpetual, and irre- 
vocable charters of the years 1655 and 1664, confirmed 


in due form. The ambassadors finally appealed to the 
engagements which the predecessors of his highness had 
made in the face of Europe, when they had been stdicitxjd 
hj kings, princes, and republics to confimi to the Yaudois 
their religious privileges. The memorial also showed that 
the Yaudois had never given any subject of complaint which 
could justify such a decree.^* 

The reply made by the marquis de St. Thomas, in the 
name of his sovereign, to the memorial, contained a humi- 
liating confession. This minister of foreign affairs declared 
that his master was not at liberty to retract or modify his 
decree; that there were engagements which he could not 
break ; that the neighboui'hood of a powerful monarch who 
was jealous of the deference paid to him, imposed on the 
duke the line of conduct he followed. The letters of the 
Protestant princes were not able to turn Yictor Amadous 
from the projected persecution. f 

The Swiss ambassadors had received orders from their 
lords, if they could not procui-e the withdi-awment of the 
decree, or its being considerably modified, then to try to 
obtain leave for the Yaudois to emigrate to foreign coun- 
tries. The court of Turin being sounded on the subject, 
seemed not to oppose it, and consented that the deputies 
should make the proposal to the valleys. 

The assembly of the delegates of the communes } heard, 
with great pain, the report made to them by the ambas- 
sadors of the desperate condition of their affairs, and the 
wholly novel proposal of emigrating in a body. The Yau- 
dois had believed that the reformed powers of Europe would 
obtain the guarantee of their liberties ; and instead of 
this efficacious succoui', there seemed no hope of deliverance 
but in abandoning their native soil. ^Tiat resolution could 
they adopt ? What part could they choose ? They con- 
sulted their good friends the ambassadors. By them they 
were advised, though with pain, to emigrate, fr-om a con- 
viction that in the presence of the united forces of Savoy 

* The historian Botta, who is not very favourable to the Vaudois, says that 
not only were they innocent this time, but they had even deserved well of the 
government. Storia d'ltalia, v. vi., p. 340. 

t See the History of the Negotiation. 

t We are not informed where this assembly was held, but the correspon- 
dence of the Vaudois, always dated from Angrogna, sufficiently mdicaies that 
the different assemblies were held in that place. 



and France, tlie Yaudois had no chance of escaping dreadful 
and final ruin. 

While the ambassadors returned to Turin, and conferred 
with the duke's ministers, the Yaudois communes assem- 
bled at AngTogna on March 18, (28th,) 1686, and delibe- 
rated. If the consideration of an unequal and bloody war 
influenced them to emigrate ; on the other hand, they could 
not tliink without despair of quitting the country of their 
fathers, the soil of their infancy, the land of martyrs. The 
love of their native country, joined with religious recollec- 
tions, the glorious and venerable traditions of the Yaudois 
church, bound them to their rocks. Uncertain, and divided 
in opinion, they at last decided on communicating their 
perplexities in writing to the ambassadors, and committing 
themselves to the direction of their prudence. 

After considering this letter, the ambassadors requested 
that the Yaudois might have permission to leave the domains 
of his royal highness, and to dispose of their property. 
But without any fresh reason, by a sudden change of policy, 
the duke refused to treat with the embassy, and required 
the Yaudois to come themselves with an act of submission, 
and request leave to emigrate. Evidently, the court being 
chagrined at the turn the affair had taken, wished not to 
be fettered, as would have been the case in treating with 
the Swiss, but to retain the power of imposing on their 
suppliant subjects conditions they would not have dared to 
off'er to their advocates. Although the ambassadors might 
have considered themselves as insulted by the refusal of the 
court to treat with them respecting the emigration, their 
prudence did not abandon them; their benevolence sus- 
tained them. They obtained, at all events, from the 
ministers of his highness, permission to regulate the terms 
and clauses of the submission. But Avhen they had pro- 
posed them to the valleys, the latter were divided in opinion, 
and sent deputies to Turin, who were not all of the same 
mind. Five of them were authorized to make an act of 
sub inission, as well as to ask permission to leave the country, 
and to dispose of their property. The sixth, deputed from 
Bobbio, San Giovanni, and Angrogna, was to confine him- 
self, besides submission, to request the revocation of the 
edict of the 31st of January. The ambassadors, finding 
themselves greatly embarrassed by this division in the 


Yaudois communes, sought to gain time from the court 
diu'ing which the discordant deputies might aj)})!}- for fresh 
instructions.*' But this inten^al was soon gone. The 
enemies of the Yaudois were on the alert, and Victor Ama- 
dous published on the 9th of April, a new edict, declared 
to be final. 

By this act, which put an end to all ulterior negotiations, 
since it settled beforehand all the points under discussion, 
nothing was left to the Yaudois, but to choose between 
entire submission to the absolute and arbitrary will of their 
sovereign, and an exile encompassed with dangers, snares, 
and perplexities. According to the edict, it was lawful for 
the greater part to remain in the valleys, (the prince, how- 
ever, reserving to himself the right of exiling such as he 
pleased,) but on the following conditions: — The Yaudois 
were to lay down their arms, and retire each one to his own 
house ; they were to engage in no tumults ; they were not 
to hold more assemblies than had been usual. The damages 
sustained by the missionary fathers, by the Catholics and 
the Catholic converts, were to be made good by means of the 
property of the said professors of the so-called reformed 
religion. The edict of the 31st of January was in other 
respects confirmed. As to those who wished to leave the 
duke's domains, they were allowed to carry away with them 
such of their effects as they chose, and to sell their goods 
to the Catholics, or to cause them to be sold by a small 
number of agents in the three months following their depar- 
ture. They were to travel in companies, and imder the 
inspection of the authorities. The places of departure, and 
days of assembling together were fixed. 

"WTiatever was the intention that dictated this decree, 
whether it was hoped or not that the Yaudois woidd be 
di^-ided by offering them two methods instead of one, of 
exti-ication from their embarrassments, the relinquishment 
of their religious assemblies, or of their native soil; this end, 
at all events, was not attained. Far fi'om dismiiting them, 
the decree combined them all in one sentiment, that of 
remaining and defending themselves. For they saw in 
different parts of the ordinance, the intention of getting rid 
of a certain number among them, and of forcing the rest to 

* They returned with the same instructions ; the three communes persisteil 
in maintaining their views. 

p 2 


embrace popery. For why was the decree of the 31st of 
January maintained, which obliged the valleys to demolish 
their temples, if the court seriouslj^ consented to their depar- 
ture ? Why should the duke reserve to himself the power 
of dismissing whom he pleased, unless on the supposition 
that the greater number would remain ? E\ddently it was 
not his wish that all the Yaudois should leave ; and on the 
other hand, measures were taken for preventing the celebra- 
tion of the evangelical worship ; was not this equivalent to 
saying, that the untractable alone were to be dismissed from 
the territory, and that the rest would be forced to embrace 
popery ? This was the general opinion.^* Driven to such 
extremities, they had no choice but to j)ersevere in an armed 
resistance. Prej)arations were accordingly made for the 
contest ; but the ministers were first requested to preach to 
the people, and to administer the Lord's supper to them 
on the following Sunday, which was Easter day. 

Unfortunately, the seeds of disunion were sown among 
the Yaudois. The valley of San Martino was disposed to 
submission and exile. The church of Yilleseche, in parti- 
cular, wrote to the ambassadors that they had decided, and 
requested them to obtain a safe-conduct for their members. 
The duke refused ; the application, he said, had not been 
made in time. 

The ambassadors, who seeing the inutility of their medi- 
ation, were preparing to depart, received again before their 
departure two letters, dated from Angrogna, addressed, one 
to the evangelical cantons in the name of the Yaudois, the 
other to the ambassadors in the name of the pastors : 
affecting letters, in which gratitude was shown in lamenting 
the little benefit that had resulted from the interference of 
the cantons and their deputies. Certainlj-, in reading them, 
their generous benefactors could not say that they had been 
labouring for the imgrateful. 

Meanwhile, Yictor Amadous repaired to the camp formed 
in the plain, at the foot of the Yaudois Alps, where he had 
assembled his guard, all his cavalry and his infantry, as well 

* The following fact confirmed their suspicions : — About fifteen householdei'S 
having requested, soon after the promulgation of the edict, to leave the duke's 
domains, could not obtain permission ; and as the most of them refused to 
apostatize, they were sent to prison, where some died, and others were not 
released till nine months after, with the other prisoners. — Hist, de la Persecu- 
tion, p. 14. 


as the militia of Moudovi, Barges, and Bagnolo, besides a 
great number of foragers. He also reviewed the French 
troops under the command of Catinat. These were com- 
posed of some regiments of cavalry, seven or eight battalions 
of infantry who had crossed the mountains, and a part of 
the garrisons of Pinerolo and Casal. 

On the part of the Yaudois, there were two thousand five 
hundred men under arms. They had made in each of their 
valleys some entrenchments of turf and rough stones. ^ If 
they* had concentrated their forces, instead of scattering 
them ; if they had abandoned their advanced posts to retire 
into the retreats of the mountains ; above all, if they had 
been of one mind as to the course to be pursued ; if they 
had had at their head experienced men of coui'age and 
influence, like a Leger or a Janavel ; if, at least, they had 
not nimibered among their ranks the iiTcsolute, the cowardly, 
and probably the treacherous, the issue would have been 
different ; but in the actual state of things it could not be 
otherwise than disastrous. 

On the 22nd of April, the popish army began its march, 
divided into two bodies; the duke's troops entered the 
valley of Lucerna, led by their general, Gabriel of Savoy, 
the duke's uncle. The French troops, commanded by 
Catinat, took theii' route through the vaUeys of _ Perosa 
and San Martino. We shaU begin with narratmg the 
operations of these latter. .-,11.^1 

Setting out before day they ascended along the left bank 
of the Clusone : having arrived opposite the large tillage ot 
St Germain, Catinat detached a division of infantry' and 
cavaK, with orders to drive away the Yaudois from this 
localitv, while he continued his march. About two hundred 
of the Yaudois ver^- soon retired behind the entrenchments 
they had raised on the side of Pramol. There the French 
colonel, de YiUevieiUe, met with an invincible resistance 
His soldiers, in the proportion of six to one, fought without 
success for ten hours, and then fell back. Seemg this, the 
little Yaudois troop pursued, routed, and chased them as 
far as Clusone. YiUevieiUe threw himseU with seventy 
men into the temple of St. Germain. Being summoned to 
surrender, he constantly refused, even on honourable capi- 
tulation. His retreat would have been forced, it night had 
not come on, during which fi-esh troops arrived from Pineroio 


to liis aid. The loss of the rrench, in killed and wounded, 
amounted to five hundred. 

Catinat pursued his march, and invested the valley of 
San Martino. On the next day, the 23rd, he attacked 
E-ioclaret ; which was without defence, as was the whole 
valley, the inhabitants having reckoned on the benefit of 
the edict of April 9, as they had communicated through 
the ambassadors that they would submit and resign them- 
selves to exile. They did not know that their submission 
had been rejected. The French, irritated by the defeat of 
their troops at St. Germain, of which the news had just 
reached them, were not content with pillaging, burning, and 
violating ; they massacred without distinction of sex or age, 
with unheard-of fury, all who had not escaped by flight 
from their barbarity. Catinat, leaving a part of his troops 
in the valley of San Martino, where they put all to fire and 
sword, then crossed the mountains on his left, and fell upon 
the valley of Pramol, which his soldiers treated in the same 
manner. On hearing of these excesses, the two hundred 
Yaudois who were entrenched behind St. Germain, towards 
Pramol, seeing themselves cut oiF, made haste to quit a 
post now useless, and rejoined, in the district of Peumian, 
those of their bretlii'on of Pramol, St. Germain, Prarustin, 
and Pocheplatte, who were assembled there. 

While all this was going on, the army of Savoy attacked 
the valley of Lucerna. When it reached San Giovanni, on 
April 22, it swejDt away, by the fire of its artillery and the 
charges of the cavalry, all the advanced corps of the Yau- 
dois, and then attacked the valley of Angrogna, defended 
by five hundred mountaineers. These brave men having 
taken refuge in the entrenchments they had cast up in a 
place called the Casses (Cassa), and on the heights of La 
Yachere, which had already witnessed so many terrible com- 
bats, resisted for a whole day all the duke's forces. But, 
on the 24th, having learned that the valley of San Martino 
had surrendered, and that the French, abeady masters of 
Pramol, were about to attack them in the rear, the Yaudois 
sent a flag of truce. The general Gabriel, of Savoy, pro- 
mised to admit them to the benefit of the edict of April 9, 
if they submitted. And as they still hesitated, he wrote a 
note, signed with his own hand, in the duke's name, in the 
following terms : " Lay down your arms immediately, and 


trust yourself to the clemency of his royal highness. On 
these conditions, be assiu'cd he will show you favour, and 
that you shall not be injured either in your ovm persons, or 
in that of yoiu' ^VNives and children." On this promise the 
Taudois laid doA^-n their arms, and the Piedmontese army 
occupied theii' entrenclunents. 

Xevertheless, under the pretext of conducting them to 
the duke for the purpose of making their submission, they 
brought all the ablebodied men to Lucerna, where tliey 
kept them as prisoners. The abandoned soldiery, masters 
of the hamlets, indulged meanwhile in all the irregular acts 
of the most shameful licentiousness and the most teriible 
brutality. The same scenes passed at Pra-di-torre, the 
ancient bulwark of the yalleys, whither the inhabitants of 
Angrogna, San Giovanni, and La Torre had withdraA\Ti their 
most valuable effects. There also the Yaudois trusted to 
a faithless proposal, and saw themselves unworthily treated, 
they and their families being alike defenceless. It was the 
same with fifteen hundred persons who were collected at 
Penmian, near Pramol, some refugees at Ciamprama and 
Geymets, retired localities in La Toito ; and, in a word, to 
avoid repetitions, throughout all the valleys. All the 
detacliments, even those which were entrenched in the 
strongest places, were alarmed at finding themselves isolated 
in the midst of a population who submitted themselves in 
succession. Uneasy in regard to the future, they lent an 
ear to the fair words and promises of their enemies, and 
surrendered themselves, one after another. The Yaudois of 
Bobbio were the last to surrender, and not without ha\-ing 
made a brave defence. They laid down their arms on the 
rocks of Yandalin. 

AYe shall not soil our pages by detailing the honible 
deeds committed by the soldiers of Catinat on the weaker 
sex at Penmian, after the departure of their commander; 
nor by the recital of those with which the duke's troops, 
especially the bands of Mondovi, disgraced themselves at 
Angrogna, and in the valley of Lucerna. These atrocities, 
which too much resemble those of the persecution of 1655, 
have been detailed in the authentic work already cited, en- 
titled, Ristoire de la Persecution des Valleys du Piemont 
en 1686 (Historv of the Persecution of the Yalleys of Pied- 
mont in 1686),"'pi'iiited at Rotterdam in 1689. Suffice it 


to say, that the generals in the war against the Yaudois, 
always regarded the wives and daughters of their enemies 
merely as victims for their licentious soldiers, and the 
old men and children as playthings on which to try their 

From all quarters, armed bands conducted prisoners to 
Lucerna. They had been promised, that, after having per- 
formed an act of submission before his royal highness, they 
should be sent to their homes where they would decide 
either for exile or popery. Instead of this, they saw them- 
selves separated from one another, sons from their fathers, 
husbands from their wives, parents from their children, and 
conducted to fortified places. Twelve thousand persons,^' 
men, women, and children, were, in the course of a few 
days, dragged from their native soil, distributed in thirteen 
or fourteen fortresses, where we shall soon see they endured 
a thousand evils. About two thousand children, abducted 
from their parents, were at the same time dispersed through- 
out Piedmont among the papists. 

Many executions also took place. We shall only give 
that of the minister Leidet, of Prali. After passing many 
months in prison, fed on bread and water, having one foot 
fastened in heavy wooden stocks, which prevented his lying 
down, he was condemned to death, as if he had been taken 
bearing arms, which was not the case, for he was found 
under a rock, singing psalms. The monks, who allowed 
him no rest, for they came every day to worry him (so to 
speak) about his faith, and to provoke him to a disputation, 
were determined to have the pleasure of tormenting him in 
his last moments. Having been present when his sentence 
was read, which the martjT heard without agitation, the 
monks would not leave him, and gave him no rest all day, 
though he entreated them, saying that he wished to pray to 
God with freedom of spirit. Moreover, they returned on 
the morrow at daybreak to harass him again. Yet they 
could not disturb his peace. As he came out of his prison, 
he spoke of the twofold deliverance he was about to enjoy, 
namely, that from the captivity which he had so long en- 
dured within those narrow walls, and that which death 

* These are the numbers given in the Hist, de la Persecution. Amaud 
raises them to fourteen thousand, a number which corresponds better with 
that stated to the Swiss ambassadors to the Valleys. (See Histoirede laNego- 
ciation, p. 63.) 


would give his soul, free from that moment to ascend 
to heaven! He -went to execution with holy exulta- 
tion. At the foot of the scaffold he made a long and 
admirable prayer, which deeply affected the attendants. 
He borrowed his last words from his Redeemer ; '* Father," 
he cried, ''into thy hands I commend my spirit." 

Thus Victor Amadeus succeeded. From the gardens of 
the palace of Lucema, whither he had come to enjoy tlie 
victory, he could behold the ravages made by his triumpliant 
army. The fields that lay before his eyes were deserted, 
the hamlets on the sides of the mountains, the smiling 
villages, with their green bowers and rich orchards, no 
longer contained one of their ancient inhabitants; the 
valleys no longer resonnded with the bleatings of the 
flocks and the voices of the shepherds; the fields, the 
meadows, the vineyards, the alpine pasture-lands, scenes 
once so beautiful, — all these districts, so happy in the 
previous spring, were reduced to one vast solitude, di'cary 
as the wildest rocks. Holy hymns would no more be 
heard there to celebrate the Author of so many wonders. 
The cultivators of these beautiful regions were some of 
them dead, and their carcasses scattered over the soil ; 
others were crowded in dungeons, ignorant of each other's 
lot ; others, again, were children delivered to the mercy of 
strangers, who never ceased to persecute these poor crea- 
tui-es till they had forgotten their parents, their country-, 
and their religion. Alas! what bloody outrage had this 
people committed against their prince to be thus treated ? 
Were they a ferocious tiibe, addicted to robbery, pillage, 
and assassination ? Thou, Lord, knowest ! they rever- 
enced thy name; they only asked permission to obey 
thy precepts ; they loved their prince ; his honour and glorj- 
were dear to them. Faithfnl, devoted, submissive to his 
laws, they only did not prefer him to Thyself, and never 
resisted his will but when he attempted to draw them away 
from that worship which they had rendered to thee for ages. 

Upon the most remote Alps, in the midst of forests, and 
in holes of the rocks, a few persons, had, nevertheless, 
succeeded in concealing themselves, liring by stealth on 
the remnants of their pro\'isions, and on what they could 
find around their retreats: and when the French had 
retired ^ith the bands of Mondovi, and a part of the 

p 3 


Piedmontese troops, these unfortunate people issued from 
their hiding-places. They soon collected together, and 
rendered assistance to each other. Being often obliged 
to descend to the inhabited places to seek for food, they 
rendered themselves formidable. The armed force which 
frequently chased them, could neither intimidate nor lay 
hold of them. Their boldness accordingly increased. Unable 
to defeat them, their enemies offered them passports, on 
condition of their emigrating. The}^ only consented when 
hostages had been given them, which one band guarded 
while another travelled, and when some of their relations, 
prisoners in the fortresses, had been permitted to go with 
them. They reached Switzerland in three detachments, in 
the course of JSTovember.^* 

The evangelical cantons of Switzerland, although their 
interference had been unavailing, and they had not been 
able to save their brethren in the faith from the catastrophe 
that had befallen them, never ceased to feel a lively in- 
terest on their behalf. They supplicated God for them on 
an extraordinary fast- day, and ordered collections through 
all their territory.! They redoubled their importunity mth 
the court of Turin; and as they had been informed that 
the count de Govon, the resident of Savoy in Switzerland, 
had received power to treat with them, they charged two 
deputies with this mission, after having deliberated on the 
basis of this negotiation, in their assembly at Aran, in 
September, 1686. The plenipotentiaries agreed, subject to 
ratification, that all the prisoners should be set at liberty, 
decently clothed, conducted to the borders of Switzerland 
at the expense of the duke, and that those who still wan- 
dered on the mountains should receive passj)orts lor the 
same destination. The Swiss, on their part, engaged to 
receive them, and keep them in the heart of their country, 
so that they might not return. The ratification of the 
convention was immediate on the part of the Swiss ; it was 
less readily given by the duke, who nevertheless signed it. 

The decision of the evangelical cantons of Switzerland 
is above all praise. They charged themselves entirely 

* Dieterici, die Waldenser, p. 136. — Boyer, p. 260.— Hist, de la Persecution, 
p. 27. — Archives de Geneve, register of the 26th November, 1686, p. 306. We 
there read that eighty Vaudois, men, women, and cliildren, had just arrived. 
See the same for the other detachments. 

t Extracted from the public register of Berne. Li^i'e des Mandats, p. 726. 


^vith an imfortimate people. They had some thousands 
of siekl}', suffering, and dejected persons to feed, lod.^c, and 
maintain. AVhat a burden for their slender means I It is 
tme they might calculate en succoui- fi'om the Protestants 
of Eui'ope, but they knew not to what amount. One 
source was di'ied up, namely, in France, whence the 
persecuted Protestants had escaped by thousands in quest 
of an asylum, and sometimes even of bread. England, 
where a Eoman Catholic king, James ii., favoured the 
religion of the pope, and which was itself engaged in 
opposing his pretensions, had not sufficient liberty to make 
collections in favour of those whom it formerly protected. 
Holland and Germany alone, although worn out by long and 
expensive wars, could still in some degree assist the unfor- 
timate people whom they had often supported in their 
distress. The cantons acquainted them with their inten- 
tions, and expected a favourable answer. The elector of 
Braudenburgh, Frederick William, was the first who replied 
to theii* appeal ; the states of Holland followed ; and after 
them several German princes, who vrill be named in their 
proper place. In passing, let us pay our first tribute of 
admiration to these Swiss cantons, who, from their 
proximity to the valleys, were called on, prior to all their 
other brethren, to give proof of their sincere charity to the 
suffering disciples of Christ. 

The autumn was di^a^ving to a close, the snow already 
whitened the summits of the alpine passes : it would soon 
cover all the heights, and threaten with its avalanches and 
whiiiwinds imprudent or late travellers. Yet the Yaudois 
were still in prison. According to the best accounts, there 
were, in the spring, from twelve to fourteen thousand in 
confinement. They could not all be restored to liberty, for 
akeady five hundred of them had been placed beyond the 
jurisdiction of the duke. This piince, desirous of showing 
his gratitude for the succour afforded him by the king of 
France, had sent this number of his subjects as a present to 
his most Christian majesty, who had deposited them in his 
galleys at Marseilles.* A great number of those who were 
left in the fortresses died in them, of chagrin or disease. 
A change of situation so complete had brought to the grave 
men accustomed to inhale the mountain breezes, to live in 

* See Dieterici, p. 123. 


the fields, or herdsmen's cottages, and above all, to liberty. 
Bad water, scanty fare, confinement in narrow rooms, l}dng 
on the hard bricks with which they were paved, or on 
straw reduced to powder or rotten, the suff'ocating heat of 
summer, the chilliness of the nights as soon as winter came, 
and the vermin that covered their emaciated bodies, had 
aggravated the morbid tendencies of many, and produced 
epidemic disorders. Seventy-five sick persons had been 
found at a time in one room. Moreover, they received 
little or no medical aid. It is said that many children with 
the small-pox died from exposure to the rain. If the Yau- 
dois wanted aid for their suffering bodies, to make up for 
that, they were constantly beset by the monks. Certain 
it is, that of twelve thousand who entered the prisons, not 
more than tliree or four thousand emigrated to Switzerland. 
"What became of the rest? The greater part had died; 
others turned Catholics."^' Many children and young per- 
sons had been taken away ; lastly, a considerable number 
of adults were condemned for their lives to the fortifications 
and the galleys. 

As to the rest, there is one fact which famishes decisive 
proof of the determined intention of the Piedmontese go- 
vernment to treat the miserable remains of the Yaudois 
with the utmost rigour ; and that is, the hindrance put in 
the way of their departure, and the manner in which it 
was at last effected. It was winter, a season in which no 
one, unless as a matter of necessity, would attempt to cross 
the Alps. This observation, which is true in our days, 
notwithstanding the excellent roads now made across the 
mountains, would be particularly so two centuries ago, 
when the means of communication were so inferior to what 
they have since become. A journey which some robust 
persons would not have attempted without hesitation, on 
account of the perils of the season, the ice and snows, it 
was cruel and barbarous, to force thousands of men, en- 
feebled by disease and imprisonment, to undertake, in the 
depth of winter, across the Alps ; and also old men, worn 
down by sufferings as well as by years, besides women 
and children of the tenderest age. It was to consent be- 

* Those who apostatized were in hopes that their goods would be restored, 
to them, which was not the case. These persons were mostly distributed 
through the province of VerceUi. (Hist, de la Persecution, p. 32.) 


forehand to the death of a multitude of them, and even 
to insure it. Spirit of Papal Home, how many victims hast 
thou made ! 

It may perhaps be said, not without foundation, that in 
choosing this season, the ministers of Victor Amadiiis 
reckoned on the discouragement that "would seize the un- 
fortunate exiles, in the prospect of the sufferings and perils 
that awaited them, which might induce them to apostatize, 
and thus retain them in the duke's domains. But if the 
end was praiseworthy, were the means so ? !N"o man of 
the slightest humanity, and much more, no Christian, could 
assent to this. 

The intention of retaining within the duke's dominions 
these poor prisoners, who for eight months had been de- 
prived of their liberty, appeared evident from the means 
that were employed to damp their courage. Proclamation 
was made, it is true, that all, even those who had promised 
to abjure, were at liberty to depart ; but, as the accounts 
state, it was attempted to allure by promises, or to deter by 
a description of the dangers of all kinds, that they might 
expect on the road. Many, in fact, suffered themselves to 
be dissuaded. But nothing could stop the general move- 
ment. Yet a great number of children, who, although scat- 
tered through Piedmont, had heard of the proclamation, 
were prevented from rejoining their parents, when they 
made the attempt. Moreover, the proclamation was not 
published in the prisons of Lucema ; it was only posted up 
in the market-place ; so that those who were detained in 
this town could not avail themselves of the liberty that was 
granted them. The prisoners, also, who groaned in the 
deep dungeons of Asti, were detained, as well as their 
parents, who waited for them in the citadel of Turin. AVithin 
the walls of the latter place nine pastors, with their fami- 
lies, were enclosed ; of whom mention will be made in the 

The Yaudois travelled in companies, escorted by the 
officers and soldiers of the duke. They were promised 
decent clothing, but only a small number of pairs of stock- 
ings and of jackets were distributed among them. The two 
following facts will suffice to depict the situation of these 
unfortunate beings. At Mondo\-i, it was five o'clock in the 
afternoon, at Christmas, when their liberation was announced 


to the prisoners, but with the addition that if they did not 
set out forthwith, it would be out of their power altogether, 
as the order would be revoked the next day. Pearfal of 
losing the favourable opjDortunity, these unfortunate persons, 
wasted by disease, set out on their march by night and 
walked four or five leagues thi'ough the snow, and in the 
most intense frost. This first march cost the lives of a 
hundred and fifty of them, who died on the road without 
their brethren being able to give them any aid. 

The other fact was this. A troop of prisoners from 
Tossan having passed a night at jN^ovalese, at the foot of 
Mount Cenis, some of them, on setting out again, remarked 
to the officer who conducted them that a storm was rising on 
the mountain. In the Alps, during the winter season, per- 
sons never expose themselves to these storms without 
bitterly repenting. The Yaudois, to whom fi'om their habits 
of observation the danger was obvious, begged that their 
march might be suspended, out of pity for so many weak 
and exhausted persons who were to be found in their ranks. 
If their request caused delay, they would not ask for food. 
They saw less danger in going without food than in travel- 
ling at such a season. The officer refused. The company 
was forced to proceed on its march, and eighty-six sunk in 
the drifted snow, and were frozen to death ;^' they were the 
aged and sick, women and little children. The bands that 
followed, and merchants that passed that way some days 
after, saw the bodies stretched upon the snow, the mothers 
still pressing their children in their arms. The SavIss com- 
missioners, of whom mention mil soon be made, requested, 
when they returned to Turin, that measures might be taken 
to bury the bodies as they became exposed to view. 

Yet we do not say, (God forbid!) that all the officers 
were like this one. There were several who displayed great 
humanity in the accomplishment of their painful task. 

The news of such sufierings endured in the prisons and 
on the journey, brought by the first detachment of the 
unfortunate Yaudois, no sooner came to the knowledge of 
the magistrates of the cantons than, moved with pity and 
following the inspirations of Chiistian charity, they sent 
commissioners to the sj^ot, who were directed to relieve the 

* Besides the eighty-six Yaudois, six of the duke's guards, with the drummer 
lost their hves. (Letter of M. Truchet, iii the Ai'cliives of Berne, mark C.) 


exiles by all possible means. These agents with the per- 
mission of the Piedmontese authorities, stationed tlu msclves, 
in the beginning of February, along the road to Tui-in ; one 
at Chambery or Annecy, another at St. Jean de Mami- 
enne, a third at Lans le Bourg ; a fourth at Suza. Their 
names were, lioy, lord of Eoniainmotier, Forestier of Cully, 
Panchaud of Merges, and Cornilliat of ^N'yon. Their cor- 
respondence with the government of Beme shows that they 
were well qualified for the eoumiission entrusted to tlieir 
care. Each one, at his station, provided the unfortunate 
Yaudois, on their arrival, during their short stay, and on 
their departure, ^^ith every comfort which sickness, fatigue, 
age, feebleness, or the inclemency of the season could call 
for. To fiu'nish the means of transport to all, medicines 
and warm clothing to others, money to a great number ; to 
give to all consolation and encoui'agement, such was the 
task in the performance of which these benevolent indivi- 
duals gained the praise of their superiors and the profound 
gratitude of the exiles. By their attentions, multitudes who 
were weak, exhausted, and dejected, acquired strength and 
courage, and were enabled to rejoin their bretkren, whom 
otherwise they would never have been in. a state to follow, 
and consequently would have seen no more. On many 
occasions, they accompanied one and another band to their 
destination, when the care of the sick and the numerous 
childi'en required their presence. Their inquiries and pro- 
tests led also to the liberation of the greater number of the 
children and girls that had been taken away from their 
parents, while they were travelling. 

Towards the middle of February, when the principal 
bands of the Yaudois had passed, •>' two of the commission- 
ers, Messieiu's Eoy and Forestier, confomiably to the in- 
sti'uctions of their superiors, repaired to Timn to solicit the 
liberation of the remaining prisoners, namely, the ministers 
and theii^ families, as well as those who had taken up aims. 
They also claimed the children who had been taken away 
during the preceding distui'bances. 

The presence of the commissioners at Turin produced 
imtation. Such urgency was looked upon with an evil eye. 
The Romish propaganda took offence at it. The Yaudois 

* The last reached Genera at the end of Februaiy ; after this the commis- 
sioners Panchaud and Cornilliat returned home. 


pastors, who before could sometimes leave the prison under 
the inspection of an officer, no longer received this indulg- 
ence.^' The numerous barbets, or Vaudois footmen, whom 
the gentry placed in a livery behind their carriages, were 
no longer to be seen. All the claims for the abducted 
children were disregarded. The commissioners only ob- 
tained leave to visit the ministers, and that in the presence 
of several officers. But, as if the interest shown towards 
them was a sufficient reason for tightening the bonds of the 
prisoners, the next morning three pastors and their families, 
with a malefactor fromMondovi, were sent away to the castle 
of Kice. On the following day, three other pastors, with their 
families, were despatched to Montmeillan. The malefactor 
of Mondovi was not forgotten. The commissioners, having 
been apprised of the departure of the first and second, 
watched in the neighbourhood of the citadel for the setting- 
out of the last. At the head of the procession was the 
bandit in chains ; then came a cart with the children and 
the sick ; next the three ministers and their wives on foot, 
accompanied by a sergeant-major. Dii-ecting their course 
to the Po, they embarked on it for the castle of Yercelli. 
The commissioners were scarcely allowed to exchange a 
few words with them, and to furnish them with what 
money they had. The father of the minister Bastie, sixty- 
five years old, and in bad health, was separated from his 
son, and remained in the citadel, with one person of his 
family to assist him.f 

It was not that the duke's council had resolved on the 
destruction of these faithful pastors ; they had even pro- 
mised to release them in course of time ; but they dreaded 
their influence on the exiles, and wished to keep them apart 
for some time longer.;}: 

The efforts to obtain the return of the young children 
who were taken from their parents at the time of their 
imprisonment, remained without success. The commis- 
sioners returned in the course of May, 1687, having had 

* There were nine in the citadel of Turin, (besides their families, consisting 
of forty-seven persons); they were Malanot; Jahier, of Pramol; Laurent; 
Giraud ; Jahier, of Rocheplatte ; Cliauvie, Bastie, Leger, and Bertrand. 

t See the Letter of April 2, (12th,) 1687, from the Commissioners to their 
Excellencies. Mark C of the Archives of Berne. 

t Among the Vaudois pastors after their return, we find six of those here 
mentioned, Bastie, L^ger, Giraud, Malanot, and the two Jahiers. The names 
of the others do not occur again, to om* knowledge. 


the satisfaction, if not of saving all the unfortunate victims 
of oppression for whom they laboui'ed, yet of preventing 
very great evils, and becoming, to a great number, a 
support against discoui'agcment, an aid in distress, guides 
to brave the storm, and skilful pilots, to bring with a 
friendly hand the almost ship'^Tecked bark into port. 
Christ, the head of the church, had promised faithful 
protectors and sympathizing brethren for his witnesses 
while bearing the cross. Switzerland was the asylum 
where, by their care, the children of the martyrs, the 
descendants of the primitive Christians, came to sit down 
by the side of the sons of fi-eedom, in the dwellings of the 
disciples of the reformers, Calvin, Yiret, Farel, Zwingle, 
fficolampadius, and Haller, ancient and revered Mends of 
their fathers. 

Hasten hither, mountaineers of the Yaudois Alps, dis- 
owned by your sovereign ! come ye families reduced by 
the sword of your persecutors ; parents desolated by the 
loss of your children, torn from your arms by the cruel 
hand of antichrist ! come, ye enfeebled old men, ye widows 
in tears, and ye children left desolate or orphans ! Beyond 
the limits of your ungrateful country, Christ your Sovereign, 
your Husband, your Brother, waits for you. His brethren, 
who love you for his sake, and because they recognise in 
you that faith which dwells in them also, receive you with 
open arms. 'W'^eary travellers, a day of rest awaits you — a 
blessed station on the road watered with tears, which 
nevertheless leads you to heaven ! 



Two thousand six hundred Yaudois, men, women, and 
children, were received within the walls of hospitable 
Geneva.* About one hundred and sixty, in two or three 
bands, had reached that city before them in the preceding 

* This is the number stated in the letter of March 19, (29th,) 1687, addressed 
from Switzerland to the marquis de St. Thomas, the duke s mmister at Turin. 
Archives of Berne, mark C. 


autumn. A nearly equal number, retarded by sickness, 
abduction, or imprisonment, gradually joined the main 
body, which, with all these additions, never reached three 
thousand ; the feeble remnant of a jDopulation of from four- 
teen to sixteen thousand. Moreover, they were either sick 
or worn out "wdth fatigue and anxiety, and the greater part 
indifferently protected against the rigours of winter^' by 
the old garments they had worn in prison. There were 
some whose lives ended at the very moment their liberty 
began, and who expired between the two gates of the city ; 
but in proportion as the wounds to be dressed were deep 
and alarming, the Genevese charity exerted itself to meet 
the exigencies of the case. The population hastened forth 
to meet the exiles as far as the bridge of the Arve, which 
is the frontier. The magistrates were obliged to prohibit 
persons from going out of the city in this manner, on 
account of the embarrassment which resulted from this 
eagerness. It was a point of contention who should have 
the honour of lodging one of these persecuted Christians. 
The greatest invalids and sufferers were taken by prefer- 
ence.! If they had any difficulty in walking, men carried 
them in their arms into their houses. Their hosts, as well 
as the committee of the Italian Exchange, provided clothes 
for all. If Geneva did so much for the Yaudois, it was 
because she believed that by the presence of these martyrs 
she would receive in spiritual blessings more than she 
could render to them in temporal aid. 

One scene, which was repeated every time a new com- 
pany of exiles entered the citj^, deeply touched the hearts 
of the bystanders, namely, the search made by the first and 
last comers for their relations, the questions they put and 
the answers they received respecting the fate of a father, 
a mother, a husband, a wife, or of brothers, sisters, and 
children, whom they had not seen for ten months. We 
can scarcely tell which answer was the most overwhelming, 
'' Your father died in prison," " Your husband has become 
a papist," " Your child has been carried away," or " No 
one has heard a word about the person you are inquiring 
for." It was not only bread, and clothing, and an asylum, 

* The joui'ney was made in Januaiy and February, 1687. The duke had 
clothed a small part of them, very indifferently. 

t Amaud says, " The Genevese contested with one another who should 
take hom.e the most destitute." 


which these cliildren of the Alps had need of, thej- wanted 
also sincere fi'icnds to moiu-n with them and console them 
in their afflictions. 

If they met with sympathizing hearts at Geneva, thev 
also found many in the cities and countrj' places of Pro- 
testant Switzerland and Geimany, where the Christian 
brotherhood received them ;-•' for they coidd not remain at 
Geneva. The treaty concluded by the evangelical cantons 
with the duke, for the emigration of the Yaudois, specified 
their withdi-awment from the frontiers. Consequently, in 
proportion as they recovered fi'om their fatigue, thej' were 
transported to the Pays de Yaud, and thence by Yverdon,f 
by the lakes and rivers, into the interior of Switzerland. 

The evangelical cantons, Berne especially, had already 
supported thousands of the French refugees.]: These 
victims of the cruelty of Louis xiv., were, one-fourth or 
one-thii'd of them, assisted hj public and private charity. 
The Yaudois, therefore, being quite destitute of everything, 
gave occasion for a superadded expense to the state and 
people, which was a heavy charge ; but wise measures had 
been taken. Beme, for example, had made preparations 
from the moment that emigration had been decided upon. 
Five thousand ells of linen had been made into under gar- 
ments ; an equal quantity of the common woollen stuffs 
of Oberland had been used to prepare warm outer gannents. 
Hundi'eds of pairs of shoes were laid up in the depots. 
The bailiffs, being informed betimes of the wish of their 
excellencies, had stimulated (if, indeed, that were neces- 
sary) the generous sentiments of the communal administra- 
tions and of individuals. Another fast in Februtiry, 1687, 
at the moment when the great body of the exiles entered 
Geneva, had prepared their hearts by the inspirations of 
religion. Another collection had been made at the same 
time. The reformed Swiss received ^Wth open arms their 
brethi-en of Piedmont, as they had already received those 

* A Vaudois, the author of the " Histoire de la Persecution des Valines du 
Piemont," printed at Rotterdam in 1689, from which we have taken most of 
the preceding details, expresses his gratitude in these words—" With respect 
to the Vaudois, as well as other refugees, we may say that Switzerland was a 
secure haven, formed by God's own hand, to save from shipwreck those who 
were exposed to the waves of persecution. 

t M. Louis du Thon, of Yverdon, was charged by their excellencies with 
pro'viding the means of transport. 

X Among these were many Vaudois from Pragela.Queyras, and other valleys 
in Upper Dauphine. 


of France ; and with still greater compassion, for the Yau- 
dois needed it more. The evangelical cantons distributed 
the refugees among them in a fixed proportion. Zurich 
took thirty per cent. ; Bale, twelve ; Schaff hausen, eight ; 
Saint-Gall, Outer Appenzel, the Grisons, and Glaris also 
received some. Berne took charge of forty-four per cent. ; 
part of whom were placed at Bienne, J^euville, and in the 
district of Neufchatel. 

The degree of charity, doubtless, was not the same every- 
where. We must even confess that in some places it was 
constrained, being called for by the authorities. Some 
Piedmontese refugees complained ; not all who employed 
them as workmen, always treated them well. Possibly, 
too, the kind reception given them in some places may have 
rendered them less contented in others ; and, above all, 
languor and a longing for their native country, may have 
sometimes produced bad humour or despondency. Yet 
the generality of the exiles showed themselves sensible of 
kindness and grateful. '' We have no language strong 
enough," said those of them who afterwards went to Bran- 
denburg, ^' to express our gratitude for your favours. Our 
hearts, penetrated with all your acts of kindness, will 
publish in distant parts the unbounded charity with which 
you have refreshed us and supplied all our need. We 
shall take care to inform our children, and our children's 
children, that all our posterity may know, that, next to 
God, whose tender mercies have preserved us from being 
entirely consumed, we are indebted to you alone for life 
and liberty."* 

While these victims of a fanatical policy rested under 
the roof of Christian hospitality, the question of their 
future residence seriously engaged their protectors in Ger- 
many, Holland, and Switzerland.! The elector of Bran- 
denburg and several German princes opened their states to 
them. In Holland, they spoke of facilitating their emigra- 
tion, in a body, to the Cape of Good Hope or to America. ;|: 

* Letter of July 26, 1688, signed in the name of the Vaudois, assembled in 
the territory of Lenzburg, by Daniel Fomeron and Jean Jalla. Ai'chives of 
Berne, mark D, 

t England governed by a popish prince, James ii., who was soon to be 
driven from the throne for his attempts at religious oppression, was not, and 
could not be at that period, an effective protector of the Vaudois. 

X Letter from the pastor Bilderdeck to the Vaudois. See Beattie's Views of 
the Valleys, London and Paris, 1838, p. 118. 


The echo of these friendly voices brought their proposals 
to the ears of the Yaudois, and tilled their hearts with 
disquietude. When, in the preceding year, the S^^^ss 
deputies had proposed to them the abandonment of their 
native countiy, as the only means of escaping still greater 
e^ils, a numerous party among them were energetically 
opposed to such a step. They never consented, till, 
having been prisoners for months in the fortresses of Pied- 
mont, nothing remained to them but to apostatize or to 
emigrate. Now that dungeons, and their prolonged ab- 
sence from their beloved native countrj', had only increased 
their affection for it, they felt intense agony at the thought 
that they should never see it again, and that they should 
be compelled to renounce it for ever. Certainly, they 
retiu'ned thanks to God, and blessed their brethren, for 
having obtained their liberty, for having fed and consoled 
them, and for offering them houses and lands again ; but 
the places in which love to God and Christian charit}- 
offered them an asylum, could not occupy in their imagina- 
tion the place of their native soil. A foreign land, however 
benevolent the inhabitants might be who would consent to 
share it with them, could never be the same to them as 
their own country-, the land of their fathers. They could 
not forget those spots the scenes of their childhood, which 
the habit of beholding had identified (so to speak) with 
their o^vn being; the paternal roof, full of the most 
delightful recollections; the shade of the fig-trees and 
chcsnuts, the fields, the patches on the hill-side they had 
cultivated, the majestic moimtains, the green pastures 
where they had fed their flocks; their hearts were de- 
lighted with cherished images and recollections, which had 
increased doubly in value in their eyes. Ye Chiistians of 
Smtzerland, GeiTaany, Holland, and England, benefactors 
of the Yaudois, be not offended at this apparent indiffer- 
ence to your countn', for you also have each a countiy that 
is dear to you ! And thou, Lord of heaven and earth, 
canst thou disapprove the preference they give to the 
country where their ancestors adhered faithfully to thee in 
the fkst ages of the church of thy Son ? Their desire to 
serve thee still on the soil of Christian liberty, surrounded 
by the tombs of the martyrs, their progenitors, and to 
re-light in these revered spots the torch of thy gospel, that 


its flame may still shine in darkness, will it not be agree- 
able to thee ? What shall we say ? Does not theii' design 
come from thee ? Doubtless, thou art not willing that the 
testimony rendered to the faith by the ancient Vaudois, 
should be weakened by the permanent removal of their 
children from the country in which they bore that tes- 

The desire of the Vaudois to return to their native 
country, though deeply cherished by them all, was only 
by degrees formed into a project, in proportion as they 
believed in the possibility of its realization. The minister 
Arnaud, who, in the sequel, was the leader of the enter- 
prise, was probably its originator ; but, in the first account 
that was given of it, it was attributed to the fervent zeal of 
the hero of E,ora, the intrepid Janavel, who had retired to 
Geneva, after a capital sentence had menaced his life. 
Geneva, believing its honour engaged to the duke, banished 
him from its walls ; but he soon returned thither. 

The first attempt of the Yaudois to return to the valleys 
necessarily failed at its outset, from its being made so 
much at hazard, without precaution, without leaders, and, 
we may say, without arms. Those who engaged in it came 
in an irregular manner from their cantonments at Zurich, 
Bale, Argovie, and Neufchatel, to Lausanne and its environs, 
about the end of July, 1687, mthout having taken any 
of the preliminary measures necessary for such an expe- 
dition. Their numbers, moreover, were inconsiderable; 
only about three hundred and fifty. Being stopped by 
the chief magistrate of Lausanne at Ouchy, where they 
attempted to embark, they submitted, sorely against their 
will, to the order for returning to the places from whence 
they came. 

Though in this instance unable to succeed, the Yaudois 
did not abandon their design. They perceived that it had 
been badly managed; that it was necessary to mature a 
plan, to make preparations for it, and then to execute it 
simultaneously and secretly, under the direction of their 
chiefs. This method they actually pursued. Their first 
care was to send three men^' to discover by-roads, by 

* One belonged to the valley of San Martino, another to Queyras, the third 
to the valley of Pragela. The fact, that of the thi-ee, two were Frenchmen from 
vaUeys near those of our friends, shows that the number of Protestants of 
these Fi-ench valleys of Pragela and Upper Dauphine, who had fled from per- 


^\idch they could return to the valleys. It was desirable 
to avoid populous localities, to follow by preference the 
higher valleys and the elevated ridges, to pass tlie rivers 
near theii* sources, and then reaching their destination, to 
engage their fi-iends secretly to prepare bread,* and to 
deposit it in convenient places. Such were the principal 
directions and instructions these persons received. 

While the three spies were ftilfilling their mission, at 
the peril of their lives, the cantons, dissatisfied witli the 
attempt of the Yaudois, which might have compromised 
them ^ith the duke of Savoy, continued the former nego- 
tiations with the German princes lor the emigration of their 
guests, whose presence was now become inconvenient. 

The elector of Brandenburg, Frederick-William, who was 
called by his contemporaries the Great Elector, a prince 
whose memory both the Yaudois and the French Protest- 
ants will bless for ever, was not content with interceding 
with the duke of Savoy on behalf of his oppressed brother 
Protestants, he showed himseK ready to receive a pait of 
the remains of their population, and wrote for subsidies on 
their behalf to the prince of Orange, to the states-general 
of Holland, to the city of Bremen, and to the elector of 
Saxony, as well as to England. It only remained to com- 
pute the number of the emigrants. Of two thousand six 
hundred and fifty-six Yaudois distributed among the can- 
tons, the elector consented to take charge of about two 
thousand ; the aged and the sick were to remain in S\^'it- 
zerland. Such were the arrangements settled at Berlin, in 
concert with the deputy of the cantons, counsellor Holzhalb 
of Zurich. 

But the Yaudois, full of the project of returning to their 
native land, showed little eagerness to accept the asylum 
which the benevolence of the great elector offered them at 
Stendal, in the vicinity of the Elbe, to the north of Magde- 
burg. They were alarmed at the thought of being fixed 
at such a distance from their ancient countiy. The climate 
and the language also made them hesitate. The measures 
taken by the evangelical cantons and the Yaudois delegates 
had also inclined the hearts of the elector Palatine, the 

secution, was considerable. They now thought of establishing themselves in 
the Piedinontese valleys. 

* In the high Alps bread is only made once a year. It becomes as hard as 
a stone, and is kept like biseuit. 


count Waldeck, and the duke of Wii'temberg to place lands 
capable of cultivation at the disposal of the exiles of the 
valleys. But, although the spring of 1688 had now arrived, 
the Yaudois could not resolve to separate themselves, and 
to settle in these distant colonies. '' It seemed that these 
unfortunate people," said Remigius Merian, resident of the 
elector of Brandenburg, at Frankfort, ''changed their plans 
every day, and could decide on nothing. They were always 
longing after their own country and people. They under- 
valued the favours offered them by princes."^' 

ISTevertheless, being obliged by their position to make their 
choice, they decided at last, that one part of them, about a 
thousand, should repair to Brandenburg, but that the 
others should distribute themselves in the Palatine and 
Wirteniberg, not to be too far removed from the dominions 
of the duke of Savoy; for they had not forgotten their 
secret project. How is it possible, when religious recollec- 
tions and exile render your country doubly dear to you, to 
turn away your gaze from the distant mountains that envi- 
ron it? The captives of Babylon exclaimed, '' If I forget 
thee, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. 
If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof 
of my mouth," Psalm cxxxvii., 5, 6. 

The chamberlain de Bondelly had arrived with a com- 
mission to conduct the thousand Yaudois to their destina- 
tion. The death of his master the great elector Prederic- 
AYilliam, the protector of the persecuted Protestants, formed 
no obstacle to their departure, Prederic iii. his successor, 
having shown his readiness to receive the inheritance of 
charity which his father had bequeathed to him. 

On the other hand, the three spies had returned, f Their 
report on the state of the valleys, at that time inhabited by 
strangers, and on the road to be taken in returning thither, 
induced the directors to hold a council, in which it was 
resolved to make a second attempt through the valleys, the 
great and little St. Bernard and Mount Cenis. Bex, a 
little town at the southern extremity of the state of Berne, ;[: 
at the foot of the mountains, near a bridge over the Rhone, 

* Dieterici, die Waldenser, etc. p. 145. 

t They had been exposed to imininent danger. They were arrested in the 
district of the Tarentaise. Eight days they "remained in prison, but at last had 
the good fortune to be set at hberty. 

J It now makes a part of the canton of Vaud. 


Avas chosen as the place of rendezvous. The time fixed was 
the 9th or 10th of June, 1688. 

At the head of the movement was a man, whose name 
has resounded far and wide, and will be transmitted to the 
most distant posterity, a man fitted both for peace and war; 
a humble minister of the Lord, and commander of an army; 
copious and eloquent in language emiched by the iloly 
Scriptures, when he applied himself to teach and exhort ; 
full of unction and fervour when on his knees he suj^plicated 
the Father of mercies for his depressed chui'ch ; brief and 
decided in tone when he directed the march, or gave orders 
in the tumult of battle : such a man was Arnaud. A native 
of the vicinity of Die, in Daupliine, Henri Arnaud, one of 
the most esteemed pastors of the Yaudois church, had with- 
drawn himself at the time of the general disaster of 1686, 
being too prudent and too clearsighted to suiTcnder himself 
to the duke's troops.'^' And when the residue of the people, 
to whom he had consecrated his life, were released from 
prison, he joined them. He sojoiu'ned at XeulVhutel "sWth 
a part of his people. His genius and resolute character 
marked him out to the Yaudois, as the man around whom 
they ought to gather, as the living soul of their people, — 
in one w^ord, as their chief. It was to him, in fact, that 
the general confidence gave the command of the enterprise 
for a long time projected, and which was now ripe for 

The most courageous Yaudois had quitted theu' canton- 
ments and traversed Switzerland by night, thi'ough b}Toads, 
and repaired to Bex, the general rendezvous. But however 
secret their march, it could not be concealed from^ the 
senates of Zurich and Berne, nor from the council of 
Geneva, who suddenly were informed that sixty Yaudois 
who served in the ganison had just deserted, and entered 
the Pays de Yaud. Their project being thus di%-ulged, was 
thwarted. A bark laden with arms did not reach Yilleneuvi-, 
where they were waiting for it. The chief magistrate of 
Aigle, being apprised by their excellencies, was obliged to 
conform to theii' orders and stop the expedition. It also 
met with other insiu-moimtable obstacles. The inhabitants 
of Yalais in agreement with the Savoyards, ha^-ing, on tlie 

* He Tvas present at the affairs of St. Germain, when tAVO hundred Vaiidois 
made so gallant a defence. 



first rumour, occupied the bridge of St. Maurice, the key 
of the pass, had both of them by their signals roused all 
Chablais, and put Yalais on its guard. The fatal order for 
stopping their march was given with all the kind considera- 
tion possible to six or seven hundred Yaudois, who were 
then assembled in the temple of Bex, by the generous Fr. 
Thormann, magistrate or governor of Aigie. He addressed 
them with tears in his eyes, showing them that their pro- 
ject having taken wind and their adversaries being in arms, 
it would be rash to think of going any further, and that 
their excellencies could not permit it without laying them- 
selves open to the charge of violating treaties. He did 
justice to their zeal; and, in order to incline their hearts to 
patience and trust in God, under their trials, he reminded 
them that the Lord, who is attentive to the desires of his 
children, and holds the times in his own hand, knew well 
how to bring about the favourable moment. This sensible 
and friendly discourse having somewhat calmed tlieir spirits, 
their pastor and leader, Arnaud, led them to entire submis- 
sion by a sermon on the affecting words of the Savioui' — 
'Tear not, little flock," Luke xii. 32. 

The Yaudois being conducted to Aigie, and lodged with 
private individuals, took a grateful leave of this humane 
governor, who lent them two hundred crowns to assist those 
of them in returning who lived in the furthest parts of 
Switzerland. They felt how much they were indebted to 
him, when they saw themselves repulsed from Yevey, where 
they were even refused provisions, and when they found 
themselves treated with severity, all along the road, by 
order of the coimcil of Berne, who were disj)leased, as may 
be easily imagined, with an expedition which compromised 
their honour, since there were not wanting persons at Tiu'in 
to suspect them of being accomplices. This was actually 
the fact; but the cantons cleared themselves entirely of 
such an imputation. 

As to the persons engaged in this attempt, who were 
banished for some time to the Isle of Bienne (St. Pierre,) 
they received orders two months afterwards from the assem- 
bled cantons, to resume their route to the north of Switz- 
erland, Zurich, and Schaffhausen, and to accept, notwith- 
standing the opposition many continued to show, the 
charitable oifers of the German princes. More than eight 


hundred persons, men, -women, and children, embarked on 
the Rhine, to be conveyed to the ek'ctorate of Brandenburg. 
And while the French commandant do Brissac tired at their 
boats, Frederic in. prepared to give them a cordial reception. 
A separate part of the town of Stendal was given them for 
a residence ; they were amply supplied with all the comforts 
of life. They were allowed to have, not only their own 
pastor and schoolmaster, but also their own municipal 
magistrates and judges. Eight hundred Yaudois were to 
till and sow the rich lands of the Palatinate, which the 
elector, Philip AVilliam of Xeuburg, had ])ut at their dis- 
posal. Seven hundi'ed were settled in Wirtemberg. A 
few hundreds remained in Switzerland, particularly in the 
Orisons. Arnaud, after having superintended this distri- 
bution, which he could not but deplore, set out, in company 
with a Yaudois captain,* for Holland, to consult respecting 
his secret project with prince AYilliam of Orange, who was 
more conversant than any other man with public affairs and 
the politics of Europe. This prince, who in the following 
year ascended the throne of England in the place of the 
papist James ii., encouraged the persevering Amaud, and 
led him to hope that circumstances would be very favour- 
able to his enterprise. He advised him, meanwhile, to keep 
the Yaudois as much united as possible. 

In fact, scarcely had a few months passed away, when 
the situation of political affairs favoured the accomplish- 
ment of Arnaud' s project. War broke out, Oermany was 
invaded in the autumn of 1688, and the French army over- 
ran the Palatinate. The Yaudois who were there, dreading 
these Frenchmen who had done so much mischief in their 
valleys, retired before them, and retook the road to Switz- 
erland. A part of those in Wii'temberg did the same. 
The evangelical cantons, affected by their new sufferings, 
gave them a kind reception; Schaffhausen, particularly, 
where they obtained a temporary settlement. They were 
soon distiibuted in their ancient allotments, even in districts 
where the French language was spoken ; as at Xeuville and 
Neufchatel. The intervention of Holland was perhaps not 
useless, in these times, for the poor exiles, tossed about by 
political storms at a distance from their native land. M. 
de Convenant, deputed by the states general, requested the 

* Baptiste Bess on of Saxi Giovanni. 

Q 2 


cantons at the beginning of 1689 to continue their protec- 
tion to the Vaudois till his Britannic majesty, William of 
Orange/* could provide for their settlement in his new 
dominions. Thus protected, the children of the valleys 
waited for the important hour of their departure, gaining 
an honest livelihood, with their own hands, chiefly among 
the peasantry. Everywhere justice was done to their acti- 
vity and probity. The only misdemeanor of which any 
one of them was accused, was the carrying off a musket ; 
and this after some time was restored. 

The dawn of their deliverance, so impatiently longed for, 
at last appeared on the political horizon, inviting the Yau- 
dois to depart and to re-enter their own country in arms. 
Savoy was stripped of troops; Victor Amadeus having 
withdrawn them to Piedmont, where he needed them. 
France, attacked by the emperor and by the Dutch, to whom 
England, now governed by William in., would soon be 
joined, having itself to defend, could farnish no succour to 
the duke of Savoy against the Vaudois, who, when once 
more entrenched in their mountains, would know how to 
defend themselves, till their powerful protectors could obtain 
an honourable capitulation for them. 

Eeeling secure on the side of their adversaries, the Vau- 
dois needed only to be on their guard against their friends, 
whose political relations constrained them to put obstacles 
in the way of their departure. The undertaking was cer- 
tainly difficult ; but if secrecy could be preserved, it was 
not impossible. The experience of two abortive attempts 
had taught silence and extraordinary prudence. Yet some 
suspicions were excited at Berne, and orders were given to 
the chief magistrate at Chillon and Aigie, at Nyon and 
some other places, in case the Vaudois should attempt a 
passage, as in the preceding year. Berne also caused Ar- 
naud, who was residing at Neufchatel with his wife, to be 
watched. This enterj)rising leader, however, took his pre- 
cautions so well, made his preparations with so much ability, 
and gave his orders with such precision, that in spite of the 
watchfulness of the authorities, he perfectly succeeded. 

The place of rendezvous appointed for the scattered 
Vaudois was a forest of considerable size called the wood of 

* The prince of Orange landed in England in Nov. 1688, and was crowned 
April 11, 1689, 


Prangins, situated on the borders of tlie lake Lenian, in the 
vicinity of the little town of Xyon, on the confines of tlie 
Bernese Territory.* The extent of the forest, its isolated 
position along the banks facing the Savoyard coast, from 
which it was not above a league distant, rendered it 
preferable to eveiy other point. The time fixed for the 
gathering was equally well chosen. They took advan- 
tage of the solemnity of a general fast, which, keeping the 
population in the temples and the interior of the villages, 
prevented them from noticing the armed travellers, and 
rendered it very difficult to call out the militia of the 
country, in case the authorities wished to oppose either the 
gathering or the embarkation. 

The movement of several hundreds of anued men could 
not be concealed so entirely that the magistrates should 
receive no notice of it ;f but the care taken by the bands to 

* This district now forms part of the canton of Vaud. 

t On the 14th of August, 1639, early in the morning, the chief magistrate of 
Lausanne, M. Sturler, was informed that one hundred and eighty Piedmon- 
tese, armed, had ai-rived at Vidy, and kept themselves concealed while waiting 
to embark. Major de Crousaz was sent to them, with orders to give up their 
undertaking, and to return home. The major sent back three boats, which 
were already at hand. The Piedmontese were irritated, but promised never- 
theless to retrace their steps. The same magistrate received at midnight the 
deposition of two peasants of Romanel, near Lausanne, who declared that a 
troop of five hundi-ed men, led by an officer on horseback, marching very 
qtiickly and in silence, had passed by their viUage towards the side of the lake. 
He learned, by his agents, that four hundred of these men had embarked in 
boats that came from the side of Geneva. The next day he found that they 
came from near Nyon. The others had disappeared. 

At Morges, a town on the borders of the lake of Geneva, about fifteen or 
twenty miles from Nyon, on the 15th, a fast day, at the hour of afternoon ser- 
vice, that is at one o'clock, the magistrate of "this to^vn was informed that a 
gi-eat number of Piedmontese were secreted in the copses below Allaman. He 
immediately rode thither with some persons belonging to the place, and satis- 
fied himself that there were about three hundred men there, armed with good 
firelocks. They declared their intention of going that evening to the wood of 
Nyon. The magistrate ^vl■ote to the chief magistrate of Nyon, and wished to 
arrest them, but of the hundi-ed he thought he had made prisoners he could 
only secm-e seventeen. Not satisfied with this attempt, he called out the 
militia, and went to the wood of Nyon, where he found nobody. He also 
caused the boats to be seized. 

The magistrate of Nyon, M. Steiger, who, agreeably to the orders he had 
received from Berne in'^the preceding month, had prohibited all boatmen from 
taking any Piedmontese to Geneva or Savoy under pain of death, was informed 
on the evening of the 15th by the magistrate of Morges of what had taken 
place. He sent a strong detachment of mihtia to the bridge of Promonthoux 
to watch for the arrival of the detachments of Piedmontese which were said 
to be in a wood of chesnut trees under St. Bonet and Bursinel, or m the copse 
of Allaman, and had been also seen near the gibbet of RoUe. This watch was 
renewed on the next day, the 16th of August. He sent a guard also to the 
entrances to the wood of Prangins. On the loth, at evening, and particularl;y 
on the 16th, the magistrate of Nyon gave notice to all the mihtia of the baih- 
\N-ick, even those of the mountain, to be, on the 17th of August, at five o clock 
in the morning, at the guardhouse of Nyon, to march and take all the I led- 
montese they could find in the wood of Prangins prisoners ; but in the mght 


conceal their march into the wood, and particularly their 
staying on the distant lands of the chief magistrate of 
Morges till the decisive moment, the evening of the 16th 
of August, when they entered unperceived into the baili- 
wick of Nyon and the wood of Prangins, at a time when 
they were supposed to he far oiF, as the distance was 
thought to he too great for their arrival there; by such 
precautions the measures were thwarted, which the magi- 
strates had hastened to take. All sources of apprehension 
were not yet removed. Scarcely had the principal brigades 
reached the wood of Nyon in the evening, when they saw 
persons landing from a multitude of boats, whose curiosity 
had brought them there to ascertain if the reports in cir- 
culation were well founded. This circumstance, which 
might have been fatal to them, and obliged them to em- 
bark much sooner than they had expected, before all their 
own people had arrived, tui-ned out very advantageously for 
them, by putting at their disposal means of transport which 
they would otherwise have been without. 

It was between nine and ten o'clock, in the evening of 
the 16th of August, 1689, the day after the fast, that 
Henri Arnaud gave the signal for their departure -'' by 
falling on his knees on the margin of the lake, and invoking, 
in a loud voice, the all-good and all-powerful God, who, in 
their distresses, had remained their safeguard and their 
hope. Fifteen boats unmoored, laden with the greater 
part of the little army. A gust of wind, which for a 
short time dispersed some of them, brought them within 
sight of a Geneva boat that contained eighteen of their 
people. Ko sooner had they reached the opposite shore 
than the transports pushed off again, in quest of those 
who might be waiting for them ; f but of the fifteen boats, 
three only reached the wood of Prangins in the night, and 

of the 16th and 17th the Piedmontese, knowing- what measures had been taken, 
embarked, although they were not all assembled. 

A letter from the syndics of Geneva, of the 15th of August, announced to 
their excellencies that in the night sLxty Vaudois had left for Nyon or Lau- 
sanne in several boats. (Archives de Berne, mark D.) 

* How inscrutable and unfathomable are the ways of God ! How did it 
come to pass that in the midst of such a movement, in some sense contrary to 
their plan, the Vaudois, so coimteracted, set out in the numbers most con- 
venient, according to all appearance ? 

t To the number of six or seven himdred, if we may rely on the declaration 
of the secretary Baillival, who had surprised them, and who employed many 
exhortations, reproaches, and menaces to turn them from their purpose.— 
(See the report of the magistrate of Nyon in the Archives of Berne, mark D.) 


brought over a fresh detachment to the Savoy side. * The 
others disappeared. By this mishap, two hundred men 
remained on the Swiss side. It may be presumed that 
they were not the most ardent to engage in the stnigglc. 
Many of them were not even armed. Arnaud also regretted 
the loss of a score of men, who reached ^^lorges too late, 
where they were stopped and prevented from joining him. 
All these men, however, regained their asylum in the can- 
tons ; but the loss most lamented was that of a hundred 
and twenty brave men coming from the Grisons, St. Gall, 
and Wirtemberg. They were arrested in the small popish 
cantons by the desire of the coimt de Govon, the resident of 
the duke of Savoy, who had got tidings of their setting 
out, and they were sent to the prisons of Turin, where they 
remained till the peace. The Vaudois who were settled 
at Neufchatel, and left it only on the 16th, also failed to 
reach the rendezvous, as well as the captain Bourgeois,! who 
was to have commanded the expedition.^ 

'Nine hundred men had effected the passage of the lake, — 
a small company to attempt making their way through an 
unfi'iendly population, and thousands of soldiers entrenched 
behind streams of water, or in fortified positions ; a com- 
pany, on the other hand, far too numerous for the slender 
means of sustenance to be found in the bj'-places tlu^ough 
which they intended to go ; an untrained assemblage, 

* One of the boatmen of Nyon, named Signat, a native of Tonneins, in 
Guienne, a man zealous for religion, and a refugee, was left on the Savoy side 
by the other boatmen, while he was taking leave of his friends from the valleys. 
In vain he ran to the shore, calling after his comrades, who went off vriih his 
boat. " Come with us," said his new friends, " and we \viU give you a good 
house in heu of your Uttle boat." He accordingly set out \nth them. 

t Captain Bourgeois, of Yverdun, or Neufchatel, an officer of merit, who 
had been requested by Amaud to take the command of the httle Vaudois army, 
was absent from the rendezvous. Being suspected of cowardice, he ^vished 
to clear himself from this injurious imputation, and to rejoin Amaud. He 
collected a thousand Piedmontese, Swiss, and French, (the latter were the 
most numerous,) and crossed the lake at Vevay on September Uth, in the 
same year. He had some success in Chablais ; but it was impossible for him 
to restrain his undisciplined troops, who gave themselves up to drinking and 
plunder, instead of marching onwards. When they arrived at Faucigny they 
would not go any fm-ther. The Savoyard troops guarded all the mountain 
ridges and passes. Being driven back on Geneva, and transported to the 
Swiss tenitorj^ by vessels from that city, they disbanded. Captain Bourgeois 
was aiTested by order of their excellencies, condemned to die, and beheaded 
at the harbour of Nyon in March, 1690. " All eyes but his own were bathed 
in tears," says a "manuscript account.— Gnmer, in Vuhiemin, Historj' of 
Switzerland, v. xiii. 

X The sources from which we have taken the foregoing accounts are the 
archives of Berne, Vaud, and Geneva ; the Histoire de la Rentree dcs Vaudois, 
(History of the Return of the Vaudois,) by Amaud, of which there are two 
editions, one very rare, of 1710, the other printed at Neufchatel, in late.— 
Dieterici die Waldenser, Berlin, 1831, 


formed of persons of every age, hardened, it is true, by 
toil, but yet strangers to military discipline and manoeuvres. 
What could become of them, exposed as they would be to 
incessant privations and fatigues ; to scorching heat diuing 
the day, and frost at nights, most frequently without 
shelter, through rain, through inhospitable tracts and 
deep defiles, by the sides of precipices, and over rocks 
crowned with eternal snow ? They are aware of all this, 
these inheritors of the Vaudois name, and of the glory and 
sufferings of their fathers. Now alone on the strand of 
the lake they have just crossed, they tread on the soil 
which they are about to bathe with their sweat and their 
blood. No illusion deceives them. The hard reality, 
with its dangers and privations, is before their eyes, stern as 
truth. But no one draws back ; no one is startled. The 
love of their country influences them; the hope of return 
to the places of their birth, where from time immemorial 
their fathers raised on high the standard of the truth 
which is in Jesus Christ, animates them with unshaken 
confidence. The prize of the conflict seems to them 
worthy of the greatest sacrifices. It is a terrestrial native 
land, to the recollection of which they have attached their 
faith and hope of salvation, by an association of ideas 
easily to be accounted for in men fall of the religious 
traditions of their ancestors. In setting out, sword in 
hand, to reconquer it, their hearts are at ease, for their 
cause is just. They seek for nothing but what they have 
been deprived of by deceit or violence.'"^' Thus, in former 
ages, Israel seized the sword and buckler to maintain his 
right to the possession of the Holy Land. And these sons 
of the Yaudois, could they abandon, without remorse and 
without a struggle, their right to the land of the martyrs, 
their ancestors,— to their unquestionable heritage ? Their 
presence on the Savoy side, at the entrance to the domains 
of their prince, is their answer ; and as to the means of 
execution, they wish to employ none but such as are 
peaceful. They carry arms only to defend themselves if 
attacked, or if their passage be opposed. They desire to 
remain under the observation of God the righteous Judge, 

* It cannot be said that the court of Turin kept its promises to the Vaudois, 
when MM. de Muralt, the deputies from the evangehcal cantons, negotiated 
the conditions of enaigration ; nor those that piince Gabriel of Savoy made in 
the name of the duke, liis nephew, to induce the Vaudois, who were not yet 
conquered, to lay dowTi their arms. 


and beneath his holy protection. They hope to be able to 
repeat on their maix-h and in eveiy encounter, like the 
childi-en of Israel, " Jehovah is oui' Banner." 

Between Nernier and Yvoire, two towns of the Chablais, 
facing the wood of Prangins, Arnaud, the leader, landed 
from his fi'ail bai'k -with fourteen companions, and his tirst 
care was to place sentinels at all the avenues, and to 
marshal his troops as they disembarked. He then di\ided 
his nine hundi^ed men into twenty companies, six of which 
were composed of the French of Dauphine, adjoining the 
valleys,^-' and of Languedoc ; thirteen others were of different 
Yaudois communes ;f and the last of volunteers, who were 
not willing to make a part of the preceding. They fonned 
tiu'ee bodies, an advanced guard, a centre, and a rear- 
guard, according to the tactics of regular troops, Avhich 
were always observed by the Yaudois in their marches. 
Two ministers, beside Arnaud, were with the little army, — 
Cp'us Chyon, formerly pastor of Pont-a-lloyaus, in 
Dauphine, and Montoux, of the valley of Pragela. The 
first, Chj^on, was soon separated from the expedition. 
Having repaired with too much confidence to the fu'st 
village,:]: to obtain a guide, he was taken prisoner, and led 
to Chambery, where he remained till the peace. 

The army once organized, and in a condition to defend 
themselves if the enemy aj)peared, bent their knees before 
the Lord, on whom the success of their enteiprise depended, 
and ardently invoked his all-powerful aid. They then took 
a southward direction, in order to pass over the little moun- 
tain range that separates Chablais ii'om Paucigny ; — Yvoire 
being threatened, opened its gates and gave them a free 
passage. The villages tlii'ough which they passed never 
di-eamed of making resistance. Some gentry, as well as 
subaltern magistrates, whose persons they secured as 
hostages, were obliged to follow, and served as guides, 
till they were replaced by others. Nevertheless, they 

* Namely, the valley of Clusone, or Praorela, of Queyras, of Embninois, etc. 
Their captains were caUed Martin, Privat, Lucas, Turel, Foufrede, and Chien. 

t Angi'oarna had three companies, whose captdins were Lam-ent Buffa, 
Etienne Frasche, and Michel Bertin ; San Giovaimi two companies, under the 
captains BeUion and Besson ; La Toi-re one, under Jean Frasche ; Villai-o one, 
under Paul Pelenc ; Bobbio two, under the captains Martinat and Mondon ; 
Prarustin one, imder Daniel Odin ; St. Germam and Pramol one, mider cap- 
tain Robert; Macel one, under Phihp Tron-Poulat; Prali one, under captaiii 

X Probably at Nemier. 

Q 3 


performed, these coercive measures with so much address, 
and the discipline of the army was so strict, that the 
apprehensions at first felt by the inhabitants of the open 
country soon subsided, and the peasants with their 
ministers might be seen approaching and quietly watching 
the troops as they filed off, and even saluting them by 
saying. May God go with you ! The parish minister of 
Filly opened his cellar, and supplied them with refresh- 
ment, without receiving any remuneration. But very soon, 
while ascending the mountain by the path which leads to 
Boege on the Menoge, in Eaucigny, the encounter they had 
with the gentry, whom, notwithstanding their threatening 
tone, they made prisoners, and then with two hundred 
armed peasants, under the command of the governor of 
Boege and a quarter-master, whose resistance was next to 
nothing, showed them nevertheless the necessity of being 
beforehand with the inhabitants. They perceived that 
if arms were generally taken up, the expedition would be 
exposed to great danger. They therefore employed a slight 
stratagem : they made one of the gentry who were kept 
as hostages write the following letter from Boege: '* These 
persons have arrived here to the number of two thousand ; 
they have requested us to accompany them, that we may 
be able to give an account of their conduct, and to assui-e 
you that it has been perfectly regular ; they pay for every 
thing they take, and all they ask is a free passage. We 
beg you, therefore, not to sound the tocsin, or to beat the 
drum, and to withdraw your people in case they should be 
under arms." This letter, signed by all the gentry and 
sent to the to"s\Ti of Yiu, in Paucigny, where they arrived 
at nightfall, had a very good effect ; and on their march 
they met with no more resistance ; on the contrary, they 
found the people eager to furnish whatever they asked for, 
even to saddle-horses and wagons. A similar letter sent 
to St. Joyre prepared a good reception for the weary 
travellers. But to gain time, they pushed on. It was 
only at midnight that they stopped in an open field and 
rested a little notwithstanding the rain. 

The next day did not pass quite so peaceably. Cluse, a 
walled city, obstructed the narrow passage between the 
mountain to the north, and the impetuous Arve on the 
south. The inhabitants in arms lined the trenches ; the 


mountaineers ran together, shouting out abuse. The firm- 
ness of the Yaudois, who resolved to force a passage, and 
the intervention of the hostages, who trembled for tlieir own 
safety, led to a capitulation. The gates were opened, and 
provisions were sold. The little army continued its marcli 
southward, on the east bank of the Aiwe, at the foot of 
contiguous mountains from whose declivities thej- might 
have been crushed, by rolling down fragments of rock, and 
reached by way of Maglan the great bridge of St. Mar- 
tin, facing Salenches. ^Tiile still at a great distance 
they had seen on the other side a horseman riding at full 
speed, and concluded that he was going to give the alarm 
in the town, the chief place in Faucigny. Having advanced 
within a hundred paces of a great wooden bridge, flanked 
by many houses, and easily defended, the Yaudois halted 
and formed in close columns for the attack. But faithful 
to their rule never to seize by force what they could obtain 
willingly, they requested a passage over the bridge and 
through the city. The town-council, avoiding giving a 
precise answer, gained time, and collected six liundrcd men. 
At the sight of the latter, the Yaudois knew what they 
had to do, and, in an instant, they had crossed the bridge, 
and set themselves in order of battle. Their antago- 
nists retreated behind the hedges, without firing; our 
waniors of two days old left them in peace, in theii' 
tiuTi, then resumed their march, and, quitting the val- 
ley of the Arve to plunge into a defile which opened to 
the south of Salenches, passed the night at Cablau, 
where they wanted a sufficient supply of provisions, and 
could scarcely dry theii' gannents, soaked with the rain 
that had been falling incessantly since the preceding even- 
ing. Nevertheless these poor people blessed God that they 
had so far marched successfully, ^dthout fighting or loss 
of men, over bridges and through defiles where a few 
courageous defenders could have done them irreparable 
injury, and that he had granted them a peaceful night 
after so much fatigue and anxiety. 

Eest was very necessary for them ; for they were about 
to face physical'difficulties of which the prospect might have 
shaken the courage of persons quite unfatigucd and free from 
anxiety ; how much more men who for a number of days 
and nights had known no rest or sleep but what they could 
enjoy during their brief halts, exposed to the injuries of the 


atmosphere, and for the last eighteen hours to rain, — not 
to mention the mental disquietude which scarcely allowed 
them to close their eyes ? Now they had reached the foot 
of the gigantic Alps, — those masses which have braved the 
winds and storms of centuries, whose heads are hoary with 
eternal snows, and whose precipitous sides only offer in 
their rents or accidental slopes, a few perilous paths by 
which the traveller cannot advance without difficulty. They 
were come into the presence of the monarch of European 
mountains, the majestic Mont-Blanc ; the Vaudois had to 
bend their steps over the undulating folds of his mantle 
of forests, and of rocks surmounted with silver snows, 
hollowed out with dazzling glaciers and torrent waterfalls ; 
they came hither not to admire the wonderful works of God, 
nor to refresh their hearts by this sublime spectacle, but 
to shun cities and men, to breathe at liberty as they 
marched on rapidly, like the chamois bounding from cliff to 
cliff on the heights above them, or as the eagle that soared 
over their heads. They were arrived at the spot, where 
the Alps to the west of Mont-Blanc change their direc- 
tion all at once by an obtuse angle, and instead of stretch- 
ing westward descend in a zigzag to the south. N'umerous 
valleys are spread out at their base, separated from one 
another by lateral branches of the principal chain. To 
the summit of these lateral branches it was necessary 
for our nine hundred travellers to ascend from the bot- 
tom of the valleys, in order to descend again into the 
opposite valley. This fatiguing labour was to be their 
daily task for eight days, one excepted. Often they could 
scarcely find an3^thing to maintain them excepting milk 
and cheese, and the frozen water of the mountains. The 
rain frequently beat upon their backs bent with fatigue, 
and their suffering feet slipped many times in a day upon 
the snows and in the stony ravines. We shall not recount 
their sufferings in detail ; they would fatigue the reader. 
Let it suffice to give a general idea, by this description of 
the route they followed. 

From Cablau, in the mountains to the south of Salenche, 
the little army ascended to the valley of Megeve, at the 
foot of Mont Joli, which bounds it to the east, and sepa- 
rates it from that of Mont-Joie or Bonnant, and after 
having passed the first defile, where they refreshed them- 
selves in the herdsmen's huts, they descended into the 


valley of Haute-LucG, to ascend immediately on the left, 
to the east, a precipitous mountain, whose aspect in- 
spii'cd horror, but which must unavoidably be crossed by 
whoever would enter the valley of Bonnant, to pass next 
throup;h the defile of Bonhomme, as was the design of our 
travellers. At the sight of this awful mountain,* the 
courage of many failed. In various places, the road was 
he^TL out of the rock : they were obliged to ascend and 
descend as if by a ladder suspended over the precipices. 
''Arnaud," says the author of the ''Glorieuse Rentree," 
C Glorious RetiuTL,"! ) ^' the zealous and renowned leader 
of this little flock, restored, by his holy and excellent 
exhortations, the courage of those who followed him. But 
this was not all ; the descent was still more painfid and 
dangerous than the ascent. To effect it, it was neccssaiy 
almost always to sit and slide down precipitously, without 
any other light than the reflection of the snows and glaciers 
of Mont-Blanc, which rose before them.:J: It was not till 
late at night that they reached the shepherds' huts,§ in a 
place deep as an abyss, barren and cold, where they could 
not make a fire except by um'oofing the hovels to take the 

* Which the author of the Rentr^e calls the mountain of Haute-Luce, from 
the name of the village at its foot, but which, without doubt, is either the Col- 
Joli, (7240, high,) or the Col de la Fenetre, or Portetta, as it was named to 
Mr. Brockedon, who has visited these countries, and followed the same road 
as the Vaudois. - (See Picturesque Views of the Vaudois Valleys, by Beattie, 
p. 16S.) It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to detenrdne thi-ough which of 
these two defiles the Vaudois passed ; they could not teU themselves, being 
obhged, owing to the thick fog, to commit themselves to a guide whom they 
disti-usted and were obhged to threaten, and who, perhaps in revenge, led 
them through the most difficult roads. 

t It is not probable that Amaud, to whom is attributed the compilation of 
the Glorieuse Rentree, would speak thus of himself. But possibly this eulo- 
gium is quoted from the journal of young Paul Renaudin, (or Reynaudin,) of 
Bobbio, which Amaud might have reproduced in the text- The author of the 
Glorieuse Rentree acknowledges, in fact, that this journal, written with great 
fidehty and exactness, furnished him with many exceUent materials for his 
history. The aged Joshua Janavel, who lived at Geneva, might have heard 
before' his death the manuscript of his young compatriot read to him, which 
would excite the hvehest emotions. Paul Renaudin left Bale, where he was a 
student, to join the army. He returned to his studies after the peace, and died 
pastor of Bobbio. (Histoire de la Glorieuse Rentree, edition of 1710, pp. 69 
and 175 ; or the edition of 1845, pp. 65 and 131.) See, also, the learned essay 
on the Vaudois which is preserved in the hbrarj' at Bale. 

t The summits and glaciers of the Miage, Trez-la-tete, etc. 

§ The author of the Rentree beheves that these huts were those of St 
Nicolas de Verose ; in which opinion he is probably mistaken, for he describes 
the place as in a deep hoUow, Uke a desert and cold abyss, while St. Nicolas is 
a large village in a hvely situation on the hiU-side of Mont-JoU. The huts in 
which our travellers foiind such a miseraV;le lodtring were probably some near 
St. Nicolas, but situated higher up in the vallev, at the foot of the pass of Bon- 
homme. Mr. Brockedon, quoted by Dr. Beattie in the Picturesiiue Views of 
the Vaudois Valleys, as ha\Tng visited these districts by a Vaudois itinerary, 
believes that these huts, of which the Rentree speaks, were those of the Barme. 


wood, which in return exposed them to the rain which 
lasted all night. So many hardships determined captain 
Chien, belonging to one of the six Trench companies, to 
desert, taking a horse along with him. He was of a delicate 

On the fourth day the little army passed through the 
defile of Bonhomme, which separates the pro^'ince of Pau- 
cigny from that of Tarentaise, the basin of the Arve from 
that of the Isere. They ascended the mountain up to their 
knees in snow, while a heavy rain was falling. They had not 
been "^^thout fear of having their passage disjDuted, for they 
knew that in the preceding year, at the report of their first 
attempts, fortifications and entrenchments had been con- 
structed in these places, with embrasures and coverings, in 
a position so advantageous that thirty persons would have 
sufficed, our friends said when they saw them, to stop their 
passage and destroy them. They praised God most heartily 
that all these works had been abandoned. From the heights 
of Bonhomme they descended into the valley of the Yersoi, 
where their resolute appearance overawed the peasantry 
who had assembled by the command of their lord to oppose 
their passage. In the evening they reached Sey on the 
Isere, and meeting there with a plentiful supply of pro- 
visions, they encamped not far from the town. The fifth 
day spent in going up the Isere had nothing remarkable, 
unless, perhaj)s, the excessive earnestness with which some 
gentlemen of Sainte-Foi wished to detain and lodge them ; 
a politeness which rendered them suspected, and procured 
them the advantage of travelling in company with the other 
hostages. The number of these persons was now very 
considerable; but their lot was not so melancholy as to 
prevent their repeating with good-humour their accustomed 
saying when they saw some person of consequence coming 
towards them, *' Here is another handsome bird for our 
cage !" This evening for the first time in eight days and 
eight nights, Arnaud and Montoux, his colleague, were 
lodged, supped, and rested in peace three hours. 

On the following day, they ascended Mount Iseran, from 
which the Isere takes its rise. Some shepherds, who had 
regaled them with milk on these mountains covered A^dth 
cattle, warned them that on the other side of Mount Cenis 
some regular troops were waiting for them, determined to 
oppose them. This news, far from alarming them, inflamed 


their courage ; for, knowing that the issue of battles depends 
on God, for whose glory they had taken arms, they doubted 
not that he would open a passage for them, whoever nii"-ht 
attempt to close it. 

Having reached Maui-ienne in the evening, the little 
army on the seventh day ascended Mount Cenis, whore 
the}' seized all the post-horses, so that the news of their 
coming could not be transmitted very rapidly. A small 
division also laid hands on some mules laden with the bag- 
gage of the pope's nuncio in France, cai'dinal Angc Ilanuzzi, 
who was returning to Italy ; but the muleteers haWng com- 
plained to the officers, they caused all the booty to be 
restored. Only a watch could not be recovered.* Having 
ended this affair, the army took the route of the little 
Mount Cenis, leaving the most fi-equented road to the h.'ft, 
and descended by the pass of Clairee,f into the valley of 
Jaillon, having wandered out of the way in a mist and over 
the snow with which the earth was covered. Many passed 
the night wretchedly in the woods. The main body had 
no advantage over them, except that of warming and drying 
themselves round some fires. 

When on the eighth day, leaving the valley of Jaillon, 
the Yaudois wished to press on to Chaumont, where they 
hoped to pass the Doire, (Doria Hiparia,) one league above 
Suza, and for this purpose were seeking for an outlet fi-om 
the narrow valley in which they had passed the night, they 
found the enemy in possession of the heights. A part of 
the French garrison of Exilles, and a great number of 
peasants, occupied an advantageous post which commanded 
the path along which they must go. Captain Pelcnc, who 
was sent to treat with them, ha^-ing been kept ])risoner, the 
advanced guard, a hundi'cd strong, set forward, but being 
immediately repulsed by a shower of balls, grenades, and 
stones, they forded the Jaillon, and defiled on the right 
bank, protected by a grove of chesnut trees. Yet the 
examination of the places inspiring some fears as to ulti- 
mate success, they decided on regaining the heights they 
had descended. This last resolution filled the hostages 

* The prelate's correspondence was also missing. It seems that it came 
into the hands of the king of France, which sorely displeased and vexed the 
cardinal, as he felt himself committed by it. But the Vaudois always asserted 
their entire ignorance of the affair. 

t This is :Mr. Brockedon's opinion, who has carefully sm^eyed these places. 
The author of the Eentree gives another name to this mountain, that of Tour- 

352 HISTORY or the vaudois church. 

with despair, worn out as they were with fatigue. '^ Eather 
put us to death," they cried. Many of them were left 
behind. The Yaudois themselves did not accomplish 
it without great difficulty. Forty men lost their way ; 
among others, the French captains Lucas and Privat, who 
were never heard of again ; besides two good surgeons, 
Jean Malanot, taken by the Piedmontese,^* and then con- 
ducted to the prison at Tuiin, and JeanMuston, taken by 
the French, and sent to the galleys, where he ended his 
days. As they re -ascended the defile of Claire e, the 
trumpets were sounded for a long time in order to collect 
the wanderers, and to indicate to all the right direction. 
They even waited full two hours, and then, being pressed 
for time, resumed their route, although a considerable 
number were missing. 

From the summit of the mountain, where the little army 
had avoided an encounter with two hundred soldiers of the 
French garrison of Exilles, they proceeded through the 
defile of Touillc, to the west, against Oulx, situated also in 
the valley of the Doire, but several leagues above Suza. 
Arnaud's intention was to pass the river at the bridge of 
Salabertrand, between Exilles and Oulx. The night had 
already overtaken them while they were still on the 
mountain. ]N^ear a village, a league from the bridge they 
hoped to force, a peasant whom they asked whether they 
could get any provisions by pajdng for them, replied very 
coolly, '^ Come on, they will give you all you want, and are 
preparing you an excellent supper !" These words, from 
the tone in which they were uttered, seemed rather threaten- 
ing. But there was now no time to hesitate. After taking 
refreshment in the village, they renewed their march, and 
half a league from the bridge they saw before them about 
six-and-thirty fires, an indication of rather a large encamp- 
ment ; a quarter of an hour afterwards the vanguard came 
upon an advanced post. 

Every one perceiving that the critical hour on which 
the success or ruin of the expedition depended was come, 
listened to the prayer with deep attention ; then, under 
favour of the night, they advanced to the bridge. To the 
cry of '' Who's there ?" they answered, " Friends," — a sus- 

* It appears that the Piedmontese cavahy of the count de Verrue, who 
occupied Suza, was also in the field ; but the gi'eater part of the troops were 
French. Each nation guarded its own prisoners. — See Histoire Mihtaire, 
(IVIilitary History,) by the count of Saluzzo, t. v., pp. 6, 7. 


jDicious answer, to "which the enemy's only rejjly was 
"Kill! kill!" accompanied T\4th a tremendous tu-e for a 
quarter of an hour ; which, however, did no harm, Arnaud 
having at the first shot ordered the men to fall on the 
ground. But a division of the enemy who had followed the 
Yaudois having taken them in the rear, they found them- 
selves placed between two fires. In this critical moment, 
some of them, feeling that they must risk everj'thing, 
shouted, " Courage ! the bridge is won !" At these words 
the Yaudois rushing forwards headlong, sword in hand and 
with fixed bayonets, on the passage marked out for their 
valour, carried it, and vigorously attacking the entrench- 
ments, forced them at once. They pui'sued their enemies 
so closely as to seize them by the hair. The \'ictory was so 
complete that the marquis de Larrcy, who commanded the 
French, and was himself wounded in the arm, exclaimed, 
'' Is it possible that I have lost the battle and my honour?" 
In fact, two thousand five himdred soldiers, firmly en- 
trenched, that is, fifteen companies of regular troops and 
eleven of militia, without reckoning the peasantr}' and the 
troops that attacked the Yaudois in the rear, were defeated 
hj eight hundred men worn out with fatigue, as well as 
novices in the art of war. The hand of God did this. 
The Yaudois had only ten or twelve wounded, and fourteen 
or fifteen killed, the French acknowledged a loss of 
twelve captains, besides many other officers, and about six 
hundred soldiers. This combat was advantageous for the 
hostages, who, almost all, availed themselves of it to make 
theii' escape. Of thirty-nine there remained only six of 
the most aged. 

The moon had risen, the enemy had disappeared. The 
Yaudois provided themselves with military' stores and other 
booty. They longed to take some repose ; but pmdence 
dictated their departure, for which Arnaud gave orders. 
Having thro^vn into the Doire a part of what they could 
not cany away, they collected what powder remained, and, 
on going away, set what they left on fire. To the tremen- 
dous explosion that followed, and resounded to a distance 
among the mountains, was added the sound of the Yaudois 
tnimpets and the acclamations of the conquerors, who threw 
their caps in the aii' as a sign of gladness, and exclaimed, 
'' Thanks be to the Lord of hosts, who hath given us the 
victon' over all our enemies." 


But if the joy were great, so also was the fatigue : to such 
a degree, indeed, that the greater part were overpowered 
with sleep ; and yet it was necessary to advance, and, if 
possible, ascend the mountain of Sci, which separated them 
from Pragela, that they might not be surprised the next 
morning by all the forces which the enemy had in the 
valley of the Doire. But, with all the care of the rear- 
guard to arouse the sleepers and make them march, twenty- 
four remained behind and were taken prisoners — a loss 
which, added to the forty that missed their way in the 
ravines of Jaillon, deeply affected the army, otherwise so 
elated with their great success. 

The next day, the ninth since they set out, was a Sun- 
day. The dawn appeared as they reached the summit of 
Sci ; and when they were all assembled, Arnaud, with a 
fall heart, pointed out to them in the distance the tops of 
their mountains, A single valley only separated them — 
that of Pragela or Clusone, well known of yore, peopled 
throughout with Yaudois from time immemorial, who had 
long been united to those of Piedmont by alliances, by a 
similar ecclesiastical organization, and by a common synod. 
It was long ago a place of refuge for them in the perse- 
cution of 1655. It would still have been so if his most 
Christian majesty had not caused all the evangelicals to 
disappear, some years since, either by emigration or ab- 
juration. It was not in a temple of any one of those once 
evangelical villages that our travellers Avere able to retiu'n 
thanks to God for the numerous proofs of his infinite com- 
passion ; it was on the solitary Sci, under the vault of the 
heavens, encii'cled by a vast horizon of mountains, lighted 
up by the dazzling rays of the rising sun. On this spot the 
conductor of this little band, Arnaud, on his knees like all 
around him, humbled himself with them before the Eternal, 
adoring and blessing him for their deliverances. All, after 
having confessed their sins, looked up with confidence to 
God, the Author of their salvation, and rose filled with 
fresh courage. Some hours after, they passed the Clusone, 
rested at La Traverse, and slept at the village of Jaussaud, 
at the foot of the defile of Pis. 

The tenth day was spent • by our travellers in the defiles 
of the mountains which unite the valley of Pragela with 
that of San Martino. A detachment of Piedmontese soldiers, 
which guarded the pass of Pis, took flight at the sight of 


our intrepid band. The latter, constrained by their })riva- 
tions to provide for the wants of the present niuiuent as 
well as those of the futui'e, felt authorized to cai)ture a 
flock of six hundi-ed sheep, which were feeding on their 
route; they restored, however, a small number for some 
money. The rest, slaughtered the next day and eaten 
"without bread, furnished an acceptable repast. 

On Tuesday, the 27th of August, 1689, the valiant 
troops who had crossed the lake of Geneva eleven days 
before, and surmounted immense obstacles with self- 
denpng constancy, set foot in the first Yaudois village, 
Ealsille, at the north-west extremity of the valley of San 
Martino. Solemn moment ! luiiting the pleasant and pain- 
ful recollections of the past with the fears and disquietudes 
of the futui'e. Everything reminded them of happy days 
that were no more, but which might possibly be renewed. 
But, whatever might be the issue of their bold entei-jmse, 
everything announced to them that, for a long time yet, 
privations and a deadly struggle awaited them. They 
knew it, and were prepared for it. The repulse at the 
Jaillon, the glorious affair at the bridge of Salabertrand, 
and the effects of exhaustion and drowsiness at the ascent 
of Sci, had deprived them of almost a hundred imd fifty 
men. Many who were wounded in the passage of the 
Doire had remained behind on the French tcn'itory; 
traitors, and minute search, had delivered them up to the 
royal vengeance. Lastly, desertion had taken from the 
amiy, during the last night, tAventy of their defenders, 
probably Frenchmen of Pragela or of Dauphine, whom the 
"sicinity of theii' native countr}^ detached fi-om the common 
entei-prise. Oui' heroic mountaineers were thus reduced to 
about seven hundred, while severe conflicts with thousands 
of disciplined soldiers awaited them. 

It is important to form a just idea of their situation, 
rendered so critical by their small numbers, to find some 
apology for a cruel measure which the instinctive desire to 
preserve theii' own lives forced upon the Yaudois. The 
impossibility of guarding their prisoners, combined "snth 
the imperative necessity of concealing fi'om their enemies 
their route and numerical weakness, constrained them to 
grant no quarter to the unfortunate soldiers or peasants 
whom the events of war threw into their hands. It was 

356 HISTORY or the taudois chuech. 

on the Alp"^ of the Pis, that the first execution began : six 
soldiers of the duke's guard were put to death. f At 
Balsille, forty-six militia-men of Cavor, besides two apos- 
tate peasants, were led two and two to the bridge of the 
Germanasco, executed, and then thrown into the whirlpool 
below. We must state, however, that thenceforward, the 
army never treated so many prisoners with such severity, 
and that only guides suspected, or apostate peasants, and 
some military men occasionally, were the victims of this 
terrible regulation. 

From the northern valley, of which the village of Balsille 
occupied the western extremity, Arnaud with his troops 
descended at first along the torrent as far as Macel, into 
another part of the upper valley of San Martino, into the 
valley of Prali, (or the Prals,) which touches Prance on the 
west and joins the former on the east, above Perrier, form- 
ing as far as Pomaret only a deep furrow traversed by the 
Germanasco, with some slopes leading down to its two banks. 
The little army, for greater security, and that it might 
better explore the country, divided itself into two bodies, 
of which one passed by the mountain to Eodoret, and the 
other to Pontaine by the base of the valley. They nowhere 
met with soldiers, but only some Savoyards, new inhabitants, 
whom they captured. On reaching the hamlet of Guigou 
they were rejoiced to find the temple of Prals still standing. 
They pulled down the ornaments placed in it by supersti- 
tion. Then the seven hundi'ed warriors, laying down their 
arms, and crowding to the inside and before the porch, sang 
the seventy-fourth Psalm, wliich begins thus : 

" O God, why hast thou cast iis off for ever ? 
Why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture ?" etc. 

They also sang the hundred and twenty-ninth Psalm : 

^' Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say : 
Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth : 
Yet they have not prevailed against me," etc. 

In order to be heard hj those within as well as those 
without, Arnaud stood upon a bench placed in the doorway, 
and took for his text some verses of this latter Psalm. 

* The term Alp is given by the Vaudois to the high pasture lands in which 
are the shepherds' huts. 

t When exliorted to pray, these poor ignorant papists asked how it was to 
be done ! (See Glorieuse Rentree.) 


At the sight of this temple, on hearing these sacred 
songs, and listening to the preaching of this servant of 
God surrounded ^vith dangers, many were reminded of the 
last pastor who had preached in these places — the blessed 
Leydet, sur[3rised by the papists as he sang psahns under a 
rock, and who died a martjT in 1686, confessing the name 
of the Savioirr. Everything here, past and present, united 
to fill the assembly with deep emotion, and to make 
them seek from on high the help of which they felt the 

Being assured that the upper villages of the valley of 
San Martino, thinly inhabited by a small number of papists, 
were stripped of troops, these con<|uerors of their native 
soil hastened to pass into the valley of Lucema by the pass 
of Giulian, which they found occupied by two hundred 
soldiers of the guards. To attack them in spite of their 
bravadoes,^' force their entrenchments, and put them to 
flight, was the work of an instant. Tliis action only cost 
the life of a single Yaudois. The fugitives lost their am- 
munition, provision, and baggage, — an agreeable booty for 
the conquerors, who also slew about thirty-one men in the 
pursuit. The little army rushing downi fi'om the mountains 
into the large valley of Lucerna, took Bobbio, which lies at 
the bottom, by surprise, and drove away the new inhabit- 
ants. Then passing for a day from the fatigues of marching 
and conflict to more peaceful scenes, they transformed 
themselves either into a religious assembly, and listened 
with earnestness to the exhortations of one of their pastors, 
M. Montoux, or into a national coimcil, deliberating on 
their interests, and imposing laws on themselves, the 
guarantee of order and justice. An oath of union and 
fidelity to the common cause, their re-establishment in the 
heritage of their fathers, with the practice of their holy 
religion, was taken, as in the sight of the living God, by the 
pastors, captains, and others officers, towards all the privates, 
and by the latter towards the former. They also swore to 
consider the booty as common property, to reverence the 
name of God, and to labour to recover their brethren from 
the thraldom of cruel Babylon. Four treasurers and two 

* " Come on, come on, barbets (dogs) of the devil," cried the soldiers, "we 
occupy all the passes, and there are three thousand of us." Their sentinel 
shouted, " "Who's there ? K you do not speak, I fire." (VUe Gloneuse Rentr^e.) 

358 HISTORY or the vatjdois chtjech. 

secretaries were chosen to take charge of the booty, and 
a major^* and an adjutant appointed over the companies. 

The large town of Yilkiro, in the midst of the valley of 
Lucerna, was attacked as Bobbio had been ; and at first the 
enemy fled, some to the valley of Guichard on the right 
bank of the PeKce, others to the convent, where they were 
closely pressed. But a considerable reinforcement of regular 
troops having come to their succour, the Yaudois were forced 
to retreat upon Bobbio, and eighty of them could only escape 
by dispersing themselves over the Yandalin, the limit of the 
Alps of Angrogna, and then rejoining each other at a dis- 
tance from the main body. Montoux, the second pastor, 
being separated from his people under similar circumstances, 
was surrounded by the enemy, and sent to prison at Turin, 
where he remained till the peace. Arnaud three times 
gave himself up for lost, three times he prayed with six of 
his men, and three times God averted the fatal blow. At 
last, this chief, whose life was so precious, gained the ridge 
on which eighty of his men had halted. 

This defeat occasioned a change in their tactics. The 
first eight days of their return, the Yaudois, acting on the 
offensive, had successively beaten every corps of the enemy 
they had met on their march. Henceforward they attacked 
more rarely, and then only convoys, advanced-posts, or 
detached columns. Being reduced to act on the defensive, 
they entrenched themselves in mountainous retreats of 
difficult access, in natural fortresses that might be easily 
defended, while their detachments scoured the country to 
obtain pro^dsions. It was on the declivities of their moun- 
^tains, in the centre of their verdant pastures, once covered 
with their flocks, but now solitary, that they sold their 
lives dearly. Decided, at least, to die in their heritage on 
their widowed and desolate soil, thej would not lay down 
their arms, except with their last groan, or for peace, if 
their prince offered them an honourable one. 

Abandoning, therefore, the hope of keeping their ground 
in their ancient villages of the rich valleys of Lucerna, 
renouncing even the possession of Yillaro and Bobbio, the 
Yaudois retreated to the heights of this last district to the 
granges of the Serre-de-Cruel, a locality naturally fortified, 
whither they carried their sick and wounded. The eighty 

* Captain Odin. Arnaud was commander-in-cliief. 


men who had taken refuge in the Alps of Ang^rogna, having 
received a reinforcement, formed an active brigade, alwavs 
on the alert, making incursions on the hamlets and villages 
of this glen, and engaging in several skirmishes : amongst 
others, one near la Yachere and Mount Cer^'in. In this 
last, they made head against six hundred men, killed a 
hundi-ed of them, and lost themselves only four. But they 
suffered great privations. Often they had nothing to eat 
but wild fruits. Twenty-nine men returned one evening 
with no food but a few nuts, with which they were forced 
to content themselves. A detachment which rejoined the 
flying camp before the combat we have just mentioned, had 
passed two days without anything to eat ; yet thej* could 
not give each one a piece of bread to revive him larger than 
the palm of the hand. On the evening of the same day, 
all these refugees, in the rocks near a small hamlet called 
Turin,-'' thought themselves well off with a supper of raw 
cabbages, which they did not dare to cook for fear of being 
discovered. The next day, at Crouzet, also in the valley of 
San Martino, they had nothing to appease their hunger 
and recruit their strength but a soup made ■v\dth cabbages, 
peas and leeks, without salt, fat, or any seasoning, wliich, 
nevertheless, they swallowed very eagerly. 

However, the little army here and there got hold of some 
better provisions, which they partly kept in reserve and 
partly used. Being stationed at Prali for two days, they 
cut down all the wheat they could find,f and hastened to 
have it ground at the mills in that place. I In the midst 
of these conflicts and labours, religious duties were not 
neglected. Arnaud administered the holj- supper to the 
troops who accompanied him. He also visited the distiict 
of Bobbio, to attend to the same sacred ordinance with the 
Yaudois who lived there. 

The little army was left in possession of the valley of San 
Martino by the retreat of the Piedmontese troops of the mar- 
quis de Parelle, who, at his departure, had burned le Perrier. 
Taking advantage of this, the Yaudois proceeded to get in 

* Riere Fayet, in the valley of San Martino. 

t The rye could not be cut at this height before the month of September. 

i It was then, no doubt, that the expedition took place which is mentioned 
in the second part of the " Glorieuse Rentree," (p. 160 of the edition 1/10 and 
p. 122 of the edition 1845,) when fiftv men went into Qneyras, a Prcnch valley, 
and carried off seven or eight hundred sheep, and some heifers, of which tbey 
restored a small part. 


all the standing com, thresh, and transport it to the retired 
village of Rodorct, where they established their magazine. 
It was also the vintage season in the lower parts of the 
valley, as well as the time for gathering walnuts, apples, and 
chesnuts.*' The flying camp, always vigilant and active, 
captured some large convoys of provisions and wine ; so that, 
if no misfortune happened, the future, as far as regarded the 
means of subsistence, was by no means to be dreaded. 

The general satisfaction was disturbed at the moment by 
the desertion of captain Turel, a Frenchman, who, although 
brave and estimable, gave up the hope of final success, and 
persuaded four of his friends to go off with him. The un- 
fortunate man only escaped the privations he dreaded, to 
endure a horrible punishment. Having been seized at 
Embrun, he was broken on the wheel alive, at Grenoble, 
among twelve wretched beings, of whom six were hung on 
his right and six on his left.f 

The body of Vaudois that was left on the heights of 
Bobbio, though considerably weakened by the succours 
sent to the division that overran the valley of Angrogna, 
and particularly by the larger force that had entered the 
valley of San Martino, did not remain inactive. They 
burned and destroyed the convent abandoned at Villaro, 
that, on the enemy's return, it might not be made a 
fortress. They reduced Eora to ashes, pulled do"s\Ti the 
popish temple, killed more than thirty persons, and took 
away much booty. But when the Piedmontese troops, 
stationed in the valley, had received reinforcements large 
enough to cover the mountains with their soldiers, the 
Yaudois found themselves obliged to abandon their refage 
at Serre-de-Cruel, after having set it on fire, and to with- 
draw to a more secure asylum — Pausettes, at the foot of 
I'Aiguille, a height easily defended, in the rocks of which 

* Chesnuts make an important part of the winter provisions in the valleys 
of Piedmont. 

t Here the First Part of the " Glorieuse Rentr^e" ends, which is a record of 
+hirty-one days to the 16th of Sei^tember, taken from the joui-nal of young 

The Second Part, if we are not mistaken, is the original work of Ai'naud 
himself; the general style is more concise; it is that of a leader who knew 
how to estimate the course of events, and, placing himself above the actors, 
felt himself authorized to distribute praise or blame. The pious reflections 
on the providential dealings of a merciful God are also those of a man deeply 
convinced, as Ai-naud was, that the work he had undertaken proceeded from 
the Most High, and could not be caiTied on without his constant support. 


they constructed a few hovels, to stow the pro\'isions they 
had brought from Prali in safety. 

In more than one affair, the Yaudois, hunted like deer, 
made their pursuers repent of their boldness. Sometimes 
they even resumed the offensive, as at Sibaut, where the 
sixty brave men who were stationed at Pausettes, forced 
the entrenchments, behind which a body equal in number 
had mounted guard. They thi^ew the captain and some of 
his men do^no. the rocks. Altogether the enemy's loss 
amoimted to thirty-four, without the Yaudois losing a man ; 
but very soon losing theii' courage at the sight of so many 
enemies, they abandoned their new refuge, the fortifications 
of Pausettes, and lastly the impregnable post of Aiguille,* 
leaving all their winter provisions at the mercy of the 
soldiers, who scattered some over the ground, and set fire 
to the depots that contained the rest. Even their flocks 
were taken from them. Being pursued from rock to rock, 
and forced to hide themselves in dismal recesses, on the 
brink of precipices, or in frozen caverns, deprived of their 
magazines, and unable to procure food, except at the peril 
of their lives, they would have come to a miserable end if 
Providence had not constantly watched over them, and at 
last enabled them to rejoin the main body, whose scene of 
action lay in the valley of San Martino. 

As the foregoing recital intimates, in the autumn, numer- 
ous battalions apj^eared in the valleys, both Piedmontese 
and French ; the former under the command of the marquis 
de Parelle, lieutenant-general, the latter under that of 
M. de rOmbraille. Their troops covered all the villages 
and all the passes, with the exception of a few scattered 
hamlets and byways. The vale of Rodoret being attacked 
in the middle of October (at the same time as the position 
of Aiguille) by a troop of the enemy, had been found 
untenable. Desertion had begun again among the Prench 
refugees. ^N'either the fear of perishing miserably like 
Tiu^el, nor nobler feelings could detain captain Ponfrede, 
with his lieutenant and twenty soldiers, who escaped to 
Pragela, where they were soon arrested, and then hung. 
The situation of the Yaudois army was certainly most 
critical, piu'sued as it was, incessantly, by a force twenty 
times its superior. 

* In the middle of October. 



Accordingly on the 22nd of October, two thousand Trench 
having passed from Pragela into the valley of San Martino, 
and pitched their camp at Champ-la-Salse, the small rem- 
nant of the Yaudois held a councH at nightfall, at Eodoret, 
as to what stej) it would be most proper to take. It was 
evident that, in the presence of so many enemies, this 
post after a while would be untenable. But whither 
were they to retreat? Some advised the mountains of 
Eobbio ; others suggested following the steps of the valiant 
captain Buffa, to the heights of Angrogna. Although the 
latter proposal seemed to be most generally acceptable, the 
partisans of the former were unwilling to accede to it. 
Division crept in among the chiefs : things seemed tending 
to certain ruin. At this critical moment, the pious Arnaud 
proposed that they should join in prayer to God, and 
without waiting for their reply, he invoked Him who is 
the Author of Avisdom, prudence, and union ; then, after 
having seriously and warmly exhorted his companions to 
sacrifice their particular views to the judgment of others, 
he advised the adoption of a third plan, that of retreating 
to Balsille ; a proposition which gained all their suffrages 
so completely, that the same night, two hours before day, 
they were on their march thither. Wishing to avoid 
meeting their enemies, they passed through places so 
dangerous that it was often necessary to use both hands 
and feet, to keep their footing.^* The general attention 
was so much occupied at such seasons that the hostages 
escaped after having bribed their guards. 

The reader vnll recollect the position of the village of 
Balsille, on the Germanasque, at the habitable extremity of 
the north-west of the vale of San Martino, separated from 
the valley of Pragela by the defiles of Damian (or Dalmian,) 
and Pis, in the same direction, and by that of Clapier 
towards the east. The principal group of houses is near 
the torrent at the foot of the mountains, at Avhich the 
gradual slopes have an eastern aspect. A stone bridge, 
near which is a mill, unites the two parts of the village, 
situated to the east, at the foot of the steep rocks of 

* " He who lias not seen these places," Arnaud exclaims, " cannot well 
imagine the clangers ; and he who has seen them will no doubt consider tliis 
march as a fiction and a romance, but it is nevertheless pure truth ; and it 
may be added, that when the Vaudois saw them again by day, as happened 
many times afterwards, their hair stood on end," etc. (V. Glorieuse Rentr^e.) 


Giiignevert, Trhich rises towards the Avest, and is thickly 
wooded at its base. Prom this natural wall, a rock pro- 
jects against the river and over the dwellings, sufficiently^ 
elevated, flattened, and in some places divided into terraces, 
forming finite a natural fortification. Three fountains supply 
it with water. It was on this rock that the Vaudois posted 
themselves, with a firm resolution of waiting steadily for 
their enemies without wearying themselves, as they had so 
often done, with running fi'om moimtain to mountain. To 
maintain their position, they began to form entrenchments, 
made covered ways, ditches, and walls, and dug more than 
fourscore cabins in the earth, surrounding them with 
channels to carry off the water. After the morning 
prayer,-'' those who were appointed went to labour at the 
fortifications. The entrenchments consisted of cuttings 
one above another. They made as many as seventeen 
where the ground was the least inclined, and disposed them 
in such a manner that when necessary they could retreat 
from one within the other ; so that if the besiegers carried 
the first, the second remained ; then the third, and so on, 
till they reached the summit of the rock. They drew out 
of the Germanasque the millstone which the proprietors, 
named Tron-Poulat, had thi^own in on quitting the place 
three years before, and set the mill at work, which was of 
great service.f A little fort was also constructed above 
the castle we have described, on a rock higher up, but 
contiguous, though separated itself from the mountain 
towards the top by a rent, where they made a triple 
entrenchment. Lastly, on a lofty ridge, commanding the 
works, as well as the valley, they left a constant watch, to 
give notice of the least movement of the enemy. 

The Yaudois had not commenced these laboiu^s more 
than three or four days when the French battalions, who, 
not having met with them at Eodoret, could only lay hands 
on their abundant stock of provisions, penetrated into the 
valley, coming from Prali, besides some other troops of the 
same nation, commanded by M. de TOmbraiUe. In a short 
time, the Yaudois saw themselves inclosed on all sides; 

* Amaud preached twice a week, once on Sunday, and again on Thursday. 
Every day, morning and evening, he also assembled his companions for prayer, 
in which "they joined on their knees, and with theii' faces on the ground. 

t They also took advantage of the mill at Macel whenever they could. 

E 2 


their advanced post at Passet, which, covered the entrance 
of Balsille, was at the same time captured by a stratagem, 
though without any loss on their part, and on the 29th of 
October the enemy advanced to attack the castle. For 
this purpose they filled the woods, mtli which the mountain 
on which Balsille rests is covered, with detachments, which 
blockaded them from Friday to Sunday evening, and which 
suffered extremely, the snow falling incessantly. A hot 
skirmish, in which they lost at the passage of the bridge 
sixty men killed, and as many wounded, at last proved to 
them the impossibility of forcing a position so well en- 
trenched and defended. All their summonses to surren- 
der had been rejected. The Yaudois had not lost a single 

In the course of ISTovember, as a part of the rrench 
troops had already retired much discouraged, De TOmbraille 
having learned, by the report of an apostate who had 
visited Balsille, that the mill of Macel was often employed 
by the men of the castle, sent five himdred soldiers thither, 
who, after all, captured only one man, and killed two. 
These were French refugees. The survivor, who had only 
gone out, the day he was taken, to nurse his two sick 
friends, and to bring them back to the castle, had to 
carry their heads to La Perouse to head-quarters. His 
edifying discourses so much interested the judge of the 
place, although a Poman Catholic, that he endeavoured to 
obtain his pardon from the inflexible Ombraille, but in 
vain. His constancy in the profession of his faith, his 
calmness in ascending the fatal ladder,"^' j)roduced a powerful 
impression on the people of Pragela, the witnesses of his 
execution, and who had for the most part changed their 
religion from timidity. 

Whether the season was too far advanced, or the position 
of Balsille appeared too strong to be carried by the means 
they had at their disposal, their enemies abandoned the 
upper glens of all the valley of San Martino, Macel, La Salse, 
Eodoret, and Prali, burning almost all the houses, granges, 
and corn-stacks, carrying away or destroying the stores of 
wheat and other eatables, and calling out to the Yaudois to 
have patience and wait for them till Easter. Having 

* He was hung at the castle of Bois in Pragela, from which it is supposed 
that he belonged, to that district. 


retired into better cantonments, they had their advanced 
posts at Maneillc and Perrier. 

Owing to this withdrawal of their enemies, the Vaudois 
felt perfectly free in their movements. The first months 
of their retiu'n to their native land had been spent, it is 
true, in privation and suffering, in the midst of daily con- 
flSSts; but at least they, the ancient proprietors of the 
soil, had remained masters of it. God who had protected 
them at the time of their first danger, and who had brought 
them to that inclement season of the year in which no one 
would ventiu-e to attack them in their mountains, could not 
he still deliver them in days to come ? They were there- 
fore, if not happy, yet thankful and inspired with hope. 
Desertion rather than death, had a little thinned their 
ranks : their numbers howi^Ter, in the valley of San 
Martiuo, still amounted to fourhundred, without reckoning 
the little division which had fixed , itself on the mountains 
of Angrogna, and one or two little bands in the wilds of 
the glen Guichard or among the alpine rocks of Bobbio. 

One thing made them anxious; their means of sustenance. 
AYhere could they be found? The enemy, besides destroy- 
ing everything they could when they retired, had closed 
against them all the avenues to inhabited places. A 
gracious Providence had provided for their need, by cover- 
ing the fields of rye with snow, ripened in September, but 
wliich the papist cultivators in their flight had not reaped, 
and which they themselves had cut only in part, in order 
to withcbaw them from the notice and devastation of the 
soldiers. Ptcmaining untouched under this protective 
covering, they furnished a wholesome and abundant nutri- 
ment to the recluses of Balsille who reaped them, during 
the winter. Moreover strong detachments, making sudden 
incursions into the valleys of Pragela and QuejTas, brought 
in salt, butter, wine, and other provisions. Prom these 
various sources their subsistence was secured. 

Those most to be lamented among the Yaudois were 
they whom the course of war, or some imprudence, had 
placed at a distance from their brethi'en. The following 
fact wiU show what they suffered. A band of twelve, who 
had concealed themselves in a cave or isolated grotto, 
behind L'Essart, in the disti'ict of Bobbio, were constrained 
by hunger to come out and procure provisions. On return- 


ing to their as^^lum, tliej^ thought that the traces of theii' 
footsteps in the snow might be perceived, and decided on 
seeking for a new one in La Biava difficult of access. 
Scarcely had they set out when they saw behind them a 
troop of one hundred and twenty -five peasants, who in 
less than a quarter of an hour would have surprised and 
surrounded them; therefore, throwing away their little 
baggage immediately, they made haste and reached a ridge 
above, from which they fired so accurately on the assail- 
ants, that of the first fifteen shots thirteen took effect ; and 
when the jjeasants asked for a parley, and an honourable 
retreat on both sides was agreed upon, they acknowledged 
twelve dead and thirteen wounded : not one of the twelve 
Yaudois was hurt. Their victory, neverthelesss, did not 
relieve them from trouble for more than a daj^, or even 
a shorter time ; for on returning towards evening through 
the bypaths to La Biava, they were every moment exposed 
to destruction among the precipices under their feet. The 
situation of their new refuge left nothing to be desired in 
point of security. They might have passed months there 
without being pursued; but after two days they were 
diiven from it by the intensity of the cold. Accordingly 
they again descended into less savage parts, to seek for a 
milder climate, or a better abode, in the midst of new 
dangers. Saddened by suffering, but animated with stern 
resolution, they were proceeding on their way, when they 
met an armed band. In a moment, they retreated behind 
a house, and their fire killed one man, an enemy as they 
supposed ; when to their great grief, mingled with livel}' 
joy, they recognised the party to be composed of their 
Yaudois brethren. "With tears in their eyes they ran to 
meet them. They went on together through the pass 
Giulian, and at last found in the castle of Balsille the rest, 
protection, subsistence, and security which the twelve 
fugitives had almost despaired of. 

The winter passed peaceably at Balsille in the work of 
erecting defences, in lading in a stock of pro\dsions, and in 
anticipations of the future, regulated by the confidence in 
God which the pious Arnaud sought to cherish in all by 
his firm bearing, his conversation, and the exercises of 
worship. The monotony of their life was interrupted only 
by the friendly visits and messages of relations, or of 


officers in the duke's sei-vice. All these proceedings 
tended to the same end, intimidation. The desire was to 
induce the Taudois to arrange for a final withdrawal from 
their native soil. For this purpose it was sought to excite 
their fears by confidential communications respecting the 
lot that awaited them. A numerous army would suiTound 
and desti'oy them in the spring ; if they were wise, they 
would accept terms while they could be granted. They 
were conjured not to risk any longer the cause of their 
relations who were detained in the prisons, nor the interests 
of those who, having become papists, dwelt in their ancient 
villages; and were implored also to think of their wives 
and children whom they had left in Switzerland, and who 
would be deprived of their natural protectors by their 
inconceivable and imprudent pertinacity. They were re- 
proached also for their attempt, as if it had been an act 
of rebellion, a crime against their lawful sovereign. The 
last argument was the only one which deserved a formal 
answer on the part of men who, submitting to all personal 
sacrifices, could not be turned from their enterprise by the 
consideration of the sufierings of individuals. Arnaud 
explained himself many times on this point, and particu- 
larly in a letter which the council of war, of which he was 
president, wrote to the marquis de Parelle, begging him to 
lay the contents before the duke. Its statements were as 
follows : 

^' I. That the subjects of your royal highness, dwelling 
in the valleys, were in possession of the lands to which they 
lay claim and which belonged to them from time immemo- 
rial, and that these were left to them by their ancestors. 

''II. That they always punctual^ paid to his royal 
highness all the imposts and taxes he was pleased to lay 
upon them. 

'' III. That they always rendered faithful obedience to 
the orders of his royal highness, in all the commotions that 
have taken place in his dominions. 

'' lY. That in the last commotions'^' excited against his 
faithful subjects at the instance of others, and not of his 
royal highness, f there was not so much as a single criminal 

* This refers to the persecution of 1686, as a consequence of which they were 
obUged, as we have seen, to emigrate to Switzerland, 
t At the suggestion of the king of France. 


process in the valleys, but each one was occupied in living 
peaceably in his own house, rendering to God the adoration 
which all his creatures owe him, and to Caesar what belongs 
to him ; nevertheless, a people so faithful, after having 
endured manj^ sufferings in the prisons, were dispersed and 
sent wandering over the world. It could not be thought 
strange that this people should long to return to their own 
country. Alas ! the very birds, creatures destitute of 
reason, return in their season to seek their nests and their 
dwelling-places without being hindered from so doing ; and 
shall men be hindered, who are created in the image and 
likeness of God? The intention of the Yaudois is not to shed 
human blood, except only in self-defence ; thej will injure 
no one. If they remain on their own lands, it is to be, as 
before, with all their families, good and faithful subjects of 
his royal highness, the sovereign prince whom God has 
given them. They will redouble their prayers for the pre- 
servation of his roj'al highness and all his royal house, and 
above all, to appease the anger of the Most High, who 
appears to have a controversy with the whole earth. "'^' 

As the Yaudois could not make an unconditional sub- 
mission, and the hour was not yet come in which the 
prince would acknowledge the justice of their cause, the 
negotiations were interrupted after some conferences, and 
led to no result. 

AYhen the snows had begun to melt in the upj)er valleys, 
and the roads underneath the mountains might be con- 
sidered as passable, French troops might be seen directing 
their march towards Balsille, at the bottom of the valleys of 
San Martino and of Pragela, through the pass of Clapier 
and that of Pis. Those who made their way through this 
latter passage remained two days on the mountain in the 
snow, and without fire, for fear of being discovered. The 
soldiers were obliged to crowd closely together, in order to 
keep themselves warm while they were waiting for orders 
to renew their march and invest the place. ■ 

We have described the position of the castle, and the 
artificial means of defence which were added to those 
afforded by nature. Yet there was one more which we 
have not yet mentioned, because it was formed during the 
winter. Access to the place not being possible with any 

* Europe was distracted by a general war. 


chance of success for the assaihmts, except on the side 
of a stream which ran at the foot of the castle where the 
ground is not so steep, Amaud had fortified this part with 
special care. He had planted strong palisades and raised 
small parapets, T\'ith trees disposed in snch a manner that 
the arms and boughs were towards the enemy, and the 
trunks and roots towards the Yaudois ; and to make them 
finn they were covered Avitli large stones, so that it was not 
easier to move them than to scale them. 

The distinguished De Catinat, lieutenant-general of the 
armies of France, commanded the troops assembled round 
Balsille, amounting to twenty-two thousand men ; namely, 
ten thousand French, and twelve thousand Piedmontese : 
too large a body, certainly, to make the assault, but of 
whom two-thirds were to be employed in investing the place 
and guarding all the passages, in order to make prisoners 
of the five hundi-ed men who were besieged, if they should 
attempt to escape. Catinat, in haste to go elsewhere, hoped 
to accomplish the aff'air in one day.* 

The firing began on Monday morning. May 1, 1690. 
The dragoons, who were encamped in a wood on the left of 
the castle, crossed the river, and placed themselves in 
ambush all along its bank, under a shower of balls and 
with great loss of men. Some hundreds of the duke's 
soldiers remained without stirring from their first position. f 
The major part of the enemy's forces approached the ruins 
of Balsille as far as the foot of the rock, but they quickly 
retreated, leaving many dead on the spot, and caiTjdng 
away a number of wounded. An engineer:|: having 
observed the approaches to the chateau with a spy-glass, 
and noticing, as he thought, that the weakest part was on 
the right, a picked corps of the regiment of Artois, five 
hundred strong, was dispatched thither for the assault. 
Seven hundred peasants of Pragela and Queyras followed, 

* A letter ■written by an eye-witness, •u'ho sensed in the duke's army, and 
which is quoted in the " Glorieuse Rentree," speaks of Catinat as having 
directed the operations in person. We are disposed to beUeve him. Amaud, 
who out of respect, perhaps, for so great a name, does not name him in nar- 
rating the assault, says nevertheless, some pages further, " Catinat, who had 
experienced the valour of the Vaudois, did not judge it expedient to expose 
his person a second time."— Glor. Rent., p. 306, ed.l710 ; and p. 197, ed. 1845. 

t On the mountain, at the back of which the fortress lay which they were 
to attack, bvit which they thought impregnable. They fired, nevertheless ; 
Catinat waited for their firing to order the assault on the castle. 

X As we are disposed to think, this was no other than Catinat himself. 

K 3 


to pull down the palisades and the parapets. On the 
signal being given, and amidst the general firing of seven 
thousand soldiers drawn up in line of battle, the picked 
battalion rushed forward to the entrenchment marked out 
with unparalleled ardour. They thought that they should 
only have to clear away the boughs that were heaped 
together, in order to have an open path ; but they soon 
perceived that the trees were immovable, and, as it were 
driven into the soil by the mass of stones that were heaped 
upon them. The Yaudois seeing that they could not 
accomplish their object, and were advanced very near, 
opened such a \T.gorous fire, the young men loading the 
muskets which the more experienced discharged with a 
sure aim, that, though the snow was falling and wetted 
their powder, the ranks of the assailants were evidently 
thinned ; and when confusion began to spread among the 
victims of the assault, the Yaudois made a fierce sally, 
pursuing and cutting in pieces the remains of these picked 
troops, of which not above ten or a dozen escaped, with the 
loss of their hats and weapons. Their commander, De 
Parat, being wounded in the thigh and arm, and having 
been found among the rocks, was made prisoner with two 
sergeants, who remained faithfully by his side to take care 
of him. Strange to say, the Yaudois had not one either 
killed or wounded ! The enemy retreated in consternation 
the same evening ; the French to Macel, the Piedmontese, 
who had remained quiet spectators of the engagement, to 
Champ-la- Salse. Three days after, the enemy passed into 
the Prench territory (the vale of Pragela) to recruit them- 
selves, firmly resolved to return and avenge such an afi'ront, 
and to die rather than abandon their enterprise. The same 
day Arnaud delivered a very powerful discourse, and was 
himself so deeply afiected that neither the flock nor their 
pastor could refrain from tears. 

On strij)ping the dead bodies, charms were found upon 
them, or supposed preservatives against the attacks of the 
evil one and death ; precautions that were judged indis- 
pensable by men who had been taught to believe that the 
barbets had dealings with the devil.* 

* Most of these charms or amulets were printed. The following is a speci- 
men : " Ecce crufcem Domini nostri Jesn Clu'isti, fugite partes adversse ; vici 
leo de tribn Juda, radix David, Allel. AUel., ex S.Anton. De Pad., homo natus 
est in eaj Jesus, Maria, Franciscus, sint roihi salus." i. e. " Behold the cross 


Catinat, deeply mortified by the check he had received, 
made all the necessary preparations for taking signal 
vengeance ; but he did not judge it expedient to risk a 
second time his oAvn person, and his hopes of a French 
marshal's baton ; he therefore left the execution of the 
enterprise to the king's ambassador at the court of Savoy, 
the marquis de Feuquieres. 

On Satiu'day, the 10th of May, the advanced guard gave 
notice of the approach of the enemy. Immediately the 
outposts were abandoned, and all fell back into the castle. 
They gave up with regret the exercises of preparation for 
the holy supper, of which they had intended to partake 
the next day, being AYhitsunday. The same evening, the 
enemy encamped close at hand ; this time there were only 
twelve thousand soldiers and fourteen hundred peasants. 
Ha^^-ing been formed into five divisions, they completely 
surrounded the place ; two were stationed in the valley at 
Passet, and at the foot of the mountain near La Balsille ; 
the three others on the heights in the ^-icinity of the fort, 
one at Clos-Dalmian, the other a considerable way up the 
rocks, the last in the woods beyond the castle, at Serre de 
Guignevert. Dispensing T^ith the tactics of a siege, they 
approached the castle within musket-shot, entrenching 
themselves behind some good parapets; for, besides 
pioneers in great numbers, and soldiers, either for mus- 
keteers or for digging trenches, all the rest employed 
themselves in making fascines and carrying them to the 
extremities of the works. Ey day, it was impossible to 
attack their works ; for no sooner did the enemy catch 
sight of a Yaudois cap, than they let off a hundred fire- 
locks without running any risk on their part, protected as 
they were by sacks of wool and by their parapets. But 
scarcely a night passed without some sallies being made by 
the besieged. 

Seeing that the discharge of musketry answered no end 
but to waste powder and shot, De Feuquieres jDlanted a 
cannon* on a level with the castle, on the mountain of 

of our Lord Jesus Christ ; flee, ye adversaries ! I, the Lion of the tribe of 
Judah, the Root of David, have conquered. Alleluia, Alleluia. From Saint 
Anthony of Padua, a man who was bom in it ; Jesus, Maria, Franciscus, may 
they be my salvation." 

* We may judge of the cahbre of the cannon by this fact :— About 1811, in 
removing the earth on the site of the castle, a ball was fotmd weigliing about 
eleven pounds of twelve ounces, that is, about eight pounds avondupois. 


Guignevert ; he then hoisted a white flag, and after that 
a red one, to intimate to the besieged that unless they 
requested peace they could expect no quarter. They had 
already been invited to surrender, and had answered, that 
"not being subjects of the king of France, and that 
monarch not being master of the country, we cannot treat 
"^^dth his officers. Being in the heritage left us by our 
fathers from time immemorial, we hope by the aid of him 
who is the Lord of hosts to live in it and die in it, should 
only ten of us be left ! Discharge your artillery, our rocks 
mil not be terrified, and we will listen to it." 

The next day the camion thundered all the morning; 
the balls made a breach in the walls, and orders were given 
for the assault in three points. One column marched up 
by Clos-Dalmian ; a second by the ordinary approach ; and 
the third by the stream, without caring for the fire of the 
besieged, nor for the stones they rolled do\\Ti upon them. 
The enemy, moreover, protected their men by a shower of 
balls, which, nevertheless, by a miracle of the Divine good- 
ness, killed none in the castle. But the Yaudois assailed 
at once from so many quarters, and by forces so dispropor- 
tionably greater than their own, saw themselves comj^elled 
to evacuate their lower entrenchments. Before quitting 
them they put to death their prisoner, M. de Parat, who, 
when informed of their intentions, replied, " I pardon you 
my death." 

Balsille could not be defended much longer. The watch 
placed upon an elevated summit had been driven ofi" by the 
enemy, who had fired upon it from the neighbouring rocks. 
According to all appearances, the fortress as well as the 
upper entrenchments must soon be forced. Happily, the 
day was drawing to its close. One means only of safety 
was left to the Yaudois — fiight. It was a difficult matter, 
for they were surrounded on all sides by the enemy. If 
they had for a moment indulged the hope of succeeding 
during the darkness, they lost it as soon as they beheld the 
great fires which were lighted every evening and cast a 
bright glare all round. Nothing was left for them but to 
die. The French were rejoicing at the prospect of seeing 
them march to execution : the cords for tying and hanging 
them all were quite ready ; but if that Providence which 
had hitherto delivered them from the hands of their enemies, 


liad permitted them now to be driven to the last extremity, 
it Tras only for the 2:»urpose of making them more sensible 
witli -^'liat care He watched over their preservation. In 
fact, a thick fog came on before night, and captain Poulat, 
who belonged to Balsille, ha^HLng offered to be their guide, 
they prepared to follow him. An attentive examination of 
the enemy's posts, by means of their fii'es, had indicated to 
this leader (who was perfectly familiar with the localities, 
the undulations and inclinations of the ground,) the jDOssi- 
bilitj' of escaping, if God peiTiiitted it, though by a frightful 
road along a ravine or precipice which he pointed out. 
"Without hesitation they descended in file, tlirough a fissure 
of the rocks, the greater part of the time sitting and sliding 
down, or going on their knees, laying hold of branches of 
trees or of bushes, and resting for a few moments. Poulat 
and those who were with him at the head groped with their 
feet, purposely made bare, as well as with their hands, 
lengthening or gathering up their bodies, to make sure of 
the nature and firmness of the ground on which they were 
about to trust themselves : all in their turn imitated the 
movements of those who preceded them. The approaches to 
the castle were so well watched that they could not entirely 
avoid coming into the neighbourhood of some of the soldiers 
on guard. Accordingly so it happened ; they passed close 
to a Trench patrol just as he was going his rounds : and, 
unfortunately, at that instant, a Yaudois trying to help 
liimself with his hands, let fall a small kettle he was carry- 
ing, and which as it rolled attracted the attention of the 
sentinel. Immediately he gave the challenge, '' Who goes 
there?" "But," says Amaud humorously, in his nan^a- 
tive, "this kettle (which fortunately was not like one of 
those that the poets feign as giving oracles in the forest of 
Dodona) making no answer, the sentinel thought he was 
mistaken, and did not repeat his challenge." Having 
reached the foot of the precipice, the Yaudois, descending 
the steep slopes of Guignevert, directed their coui'se south- 
ward towards Salse. It was now two hours after daybreak, 
and they were still ascending by steps which they hoUowed 
out in the snow. Then the enemy, who were encamped at 
Lautiga under the rock where the Yaudois had placed 
their mountain watch, discovered them, and cried out that 
the barbets had made their escape. 


A detachment in pursuit followed at their heels. The 
Vaudois descended to Pausettes, or Salse, on the other side 
of the mountain, where they rested and took refreshment. 
They did the same at Eodoret, wliither they next betook 
themselves. They were no sooner on their march again 
than they perceived on the heights behind them a column 
of the enemy, taking the road to Eodoret. Penetrating 
theii' design, the Vaudois ascended the summit of Galmon, 
between Eodoret and Prali. They halted there for two 
hours, during which they made a review, the sick and 
wounded were sent to a declivity called Le Yallon, with 
the surgeon of M. de Parat, under the guard of some of 
the strongest. They then descended rapidly on the side of 
Prali, concealed themselves in the wood of Serrelemi, where 
they waited for the night. A fog fortunately^ rising, they 
resumed their march, and ascended to the hamlet called La 
Majere, where they were disappointed in finding no water; 
but Heaven taking pity on them, sent them rain, which in 
this retreat was as useful and seasonable, as on other occa- 
sions it had been inconvenient and injurious. 

On the next day, the 16th, they reached Prayet; then 
crossing the valley below Prali in a fog, they entered the 
rocky mountains and precipices which, from Pons on the 
south, descend and divide themselves towards the north. 
They j)assed on to Poccabianca (a white rock, with a quarry 
of fine marble, ) and halted for the night at Payet, a lateral 
glen of the valley of San Martino. 

On the 17th, as the enemy were already on their track 
at Pouet, they left the mountain to the south and invaded 
Pramol. There they came into conflict mth the inhabitants, 
and some soldiers entrenched in the churchyard, killed fifty- 
seven men, and burned the village. They had to lament on 
their own side three wounded and as many killed, without 
reckoning one of their wives (though very few of them were 
there) who was struck at the very moment she was carrying 
some straw to smoke those persons who had taken refuge 
in the temple. They captured the commandant de Vignaux, 
with three lieutenants. The first of these ofiicers informed 
Arnaud, when he delivered up his sword, that Victor 
Amadous would have to decide in three days either to con- 
tinue his alKance with Prance, or to join the coalition which 
the emperor, one part of Germany, Holland, England and 


Spain, had formed against Louis xiv. Amaud, who by 
his secret relations w^ith the prince of Orange, now become 
king of England, had been initiated into European politics, 
but duiing his isolation in Balsille had been debarred from 
any certain intelligence, perceived in an instant how much 
depended for himself and his troop on the resolution the duke 
might take. He saw it would be either their ruin or deliver- 
ance. To foresee what the determination of the prince would 
be, was impossible : he waited for it with intense anxiety. 

On the folloAving day. May the 18th, 1690, being Sunday, 
in a higher hamlet of Angrogna, (probably Les Bouils,) 
whither the Yaudois had repaii'ed on quitting Pramol, the 
decision taken by Victor Amadous was announced to them, 
and peace was offered them in his name by two individuals 
of San Giovanni and Angrogna, whom they well knew, 
MIE. Parender and Bertin, sent for this pui'pose by the 
baron de Palav acini, a general of the duke. 

"V\Tio can imagine the joy of these poor people whom a 
war of nine months had weakened and reduced to two -thirds 
of their original number, whom famine pursued, and who, 
chased from their last asyliun, tracked like game from rock 
to rock, from valley to valley, could only exjDect death or 
perpetual imprisonment ? Xews so unexpected might have 
been fatal to many by exciting their sensibility too strongly, 
and transporting them at once, without any intermediate 
steps, from the gloomiest resolutions to the most delightful 
hopes, if the fear that it was premature had not repressed 
the first impulses of their joy. 

But gradually events occurred to confirm the fact. The 
Piedmontese garrison of the town of La Torre, captured, 
under the eyes of the Yaudois, the French detachment of 
Clerambaud, which in pursuit of these latter, had entered that 
place to refresh themselves. At the same time, provisions 
were distributed in the duke's name to these poor fugitives 
from Balsille, who eight days before had been doomed to 
death. The village of Bobbio was put into theii' hands and 
entrusted to their protection. A little while after, they 
witnessed the arrival of the ministers Montoux and Bastie, 
captain Pelenc, the surgeon Malanot, and twenty others 
who, released from the prisons at Turin, hastened to meet 
their brethren with transports of joy. It is told that 
on this occasion the prince kindly addressed them, and said 

376 HISTORY OF the vatjdois chtjech:. 

that lie would not prevent them from preaching anywhere, 
even in Turin. They also saw themselves treated with 
confidence. The commandant of the troops of his royal 
highness called for their co-operation, and, in conjunction 
with the duke's troops, they passed through the defile of 
La Croix, assisted in beating the enemy, burned Abries, and 
returned to Bobbio laden with booty. They attacked the 
Prench troops entrenched in the forts of San Michel of 
Lucerna, and of La Torre. Success crowned the arms of 
their prince whom they were now happy to serve. 

One of their captains having made an inciu'sion into 
Pragela and seized a courier with letters for the king of 
France, Arnaud, who had informed the baron Palavicini of 
the occurrence, received orders to bring the desjDatches to 
him, and accompanied this general-in-chief to his royal 
higliness. Victor Amadeus ii. received the Yaudois depu- 
tation with cordiality. ''You have," he said, ''only one 
God and one prince to serve. Serve God and your prince 
faithfully. Up to the present time we have been enemies ; 
henceforward we must be good friends ; others have been 
the cause of your misfortunes ; but if, as you ought, you 
hazard your lives in my service, I will also hazard my life 
for you ; and as long as I have a morsel of bread, you shall 
have your share of it." 

If political interests had reconciled Yictor Amadeus to 
his unfortunate subjects of the Yaudois valleys, if the 
necessity of defending his frontier, joined to the want of 
experienced soldiers, made him confide that post of honour 
to these very men whose character and sentiments he had 
misapprehended, we must still acknowledge that the sight 
of their devotedness to his cause and their exemplary 
fidelity touched his heart, and won his afifection for them. 
This prince, enlightened as to the disposition and wishes 
of his subjects in reference to religion, gave them his 
esteem, and did not withdraw it. It is true, it was not 
till some years after, the 13th (23rd) May, 1694, that the 
act of pacification respecting the Yaudois affairs was pro- 
claimed ; nevertheless from the first day that the off'er of 
peace was made, the reconciliation was sincere and complete 
on both sides. 

The confidence of the prince was not limited to com- 
mitting the guard of the frontiers to a band of the once 





proscribed Yaudois, nor his esteem to granting the rank of 
colonel to their cliief, Arnand; his justice crowned their 
wishes by consenting to the return of theii' families to the 
valleys, as well as their reinstatement in their ancient 
heritage. At the beginning of July, the indefatigable 
Arnaud traTclled in all haste to Milan, to meet the Yaudois 
bands who were exjDected there. '^' These were without 
doubt composed of exiles that had remained in the north 
of Switzerland, the Grisons, and Wirtemberg, and who, 
being informed of the favourable disposition of Yietor 
Amadous rejoined their brethi^n, bringing with them their 
-^-ives and childi'cn whom the latter had confided to their 
generous hosts, when they set out eleven months before for 
the conquest of their native countiy. From the lofty 
mountains of Switzerland, they descended to the friendly 
plains, whose sovereigns, like their o^ti, were members of 
the coalition. 

We regret the want of precise information respecting the 
return of the Yaudois who were domiciled in western 
Switzerland, those of jS'eufchatel for instance, who arrived 
too late at the wood of Prangins for embarking.f But 
what does it signify? It is sufficient to know that the 
generality of the members of this great family, with few 
exceptions, directed their footsteps to the country of their 
fathers. This was the case with even those at the greatest 
distance. The elector of Brandenburg, who had received 
them into his dominions with so much cordiality, and had 
incurred great expense in their settlement, did not hesitate 
to make fresh sacrifices in order to gratify the wish of 
their hearts. He generously furnished them mth the means 
of returning home.;j: 

To do entire justice to the good faith of Yietor Amadous 
we ought to add that he not only allowed all the exiles to 
return, but consented that those Yaudois whom distress 

* See Arnand's letter to the governor of Aigle.— V. Glorieuse Rentr(?e. 

t Amaucl'swife was atNeufchritel,asappears from the letterabove-mentioned. 

i Their passport is dated the end of August, 1690. (See Dieterici, p. 290.) 
Nine hundred and fifty -four set out : only eight hundred and forty-fom- had 
anived there, and some of these remained in their new coimtiy ; among others 
two preachers, a Jacob and a Da\-id Bayle. (Dieterici.) This difference between 
the number of those who set out, and those who had anived natiu^ally prompts 
the question, "Whence did this difference arise? Among the conjectm-al 
answers that may be given to it tliis appears the most simple and probaljle, 
that many of those who at first had refused to set out for Brandenbiu-g, after- 
wards decided to do so. 

378 HiSTOKT or the vaudois chitech. 

had enslaved for a time to the Eomish worship should 
return to the faith of their pious ancestors and their 
heroic brethren. Availing themselves of his benevolence, 
and making use of their liberty, a great number of young 
persons of both sexes, who had been forced to enter into 
the service of the rich Piedmontese in order to save their 
lives, as well as the children who were abducted at the 
time of the imprisonment in 1686, and of the emigration in 
1687, hastened to the places of their birth to seek their 
relations, and to profess once more a faith the recollections 
of which still filled their hearts. 

After four years of cruel and painful separation, how 
happy were they to see themselves again in that beloved 
country which they had recovered, but where they had 
everything to re-establish ! As when Israel released from 
captivity returned to the land of their fathers to rebuild 
Jerusalem, to restore its temple and its worship and to 
cultivate its long-abandoned fields that they might present 
their tithes to Jehovah, so this feeble remnant of the 
Vaudois, without laying aside the weapons that were 
necessary for the defence of their prince, took the trowel, 
the spade, and the plough, rebuilt their thatched cottages, 
repaii'ed their temples and their villages, recognised, and 
sowed their fallow ground, and with grateful and loving 
heart returned thanks to the all-wise, all-good, all-powerful 
God, who having made them pass through severe but 
salutarjr trials, had restored to them, on the soil of their 
fathers, the liberty of serving him with a pui'e worship, 
conformable to his word. 



^' Seeve God and your prince faithfully;" such was the 
principal passage and substance of the adcbress of Victor 
Amadous ii. to the Vaudois chiefs, when he declared that 
he would grant his afi'ection as well as protection to their 
people. Words delightful to their ears ! for if they brought 


luiclcr thcii' notice a duty which in their last amied conflict 
had undergone a forcible interruption, they specified in the 
first place tliat duty ■\^hich claimed the preference to it. 
The duke himself placed fidelity to God before that which 
related to his own person. Their past conduct thus received 
its justification in the judgment even of him who was most 
interested, next to themselves, that there should be no 
reciuTence of conflict between the two duties. The Mure, 
in its turn ofi'ered them some secuiity, since the prince _ of 
his own motion assigned to the two great duties which 
should govern the life of a Christian citizen, the same order 
as that in which the Yaudois had always placed them, when 
they supported them by an appeal to the apostolic injunc- 
tion, '' Fear Ood, honoiu' the king," 1 Peter ii. 17. 

The Yaudois, grateful to their sovereign for the return of 
his benevolence, endeavoured to give him palpable proofs of 
theii^ sincerity ; and, in the fii^st place, by shedding their 
blood for him. They hastened to his standard at the first 
call, without sparing themselves. " They were a great 
support to the duke of Savoy, when the war with France 
broke out," says a Piedmontese author, Charles Botta, who 
is far from being prejudiced in their favour.* The count 
of Saluzzo, in his Military History of Piedmont, expresses 
himseK as follows : — " These mountaineers hastened to join 
the marqids de Parelle who had not long before attacked 
them, and the skinnishes on the mountains cost the enemy, 
whom they drove from Lucema, more than a thousand 
men. ' ' f The marquis Costa de Beauregard, in his ' ' Histori- 
cal Memoir's of the House of Savoy," {Jllemoires ITistonqties 
sur la Mai son de Savoie,) speaks of the braveiy of the 
barbets, who rendered themselves formidable to the French. J 
He even passes an eulogium on their conduct at the siege 
of Coni, in the foUowing year. " This fortress," he says, 
" invested fi^om the commencement of the campaign, was for 
a long time defended only by its own inhabitants and some 
troops of peasants from the neighbouring districts, among 
others by eight hundred Yaudois under the command of a 
chief celebrated among them." 

^Tiile the military force of the valleys distinguished 
itself in the defence of towns as well as in the field of 

* Storia d'ltalia, t. vii. p. 20. 
t Histoire Jlilitaire, t. v. p. 13. % Tome iii. pp. 33— il. 


battle,^' and thus fulfilled the wish expressed to their leader 
Amaud by their prince, the latter interested himself ac- 
cording to his promise in the establishment of the Yaudois 
families, and gave the necessary orders for that purpose. 
^Nevertheless, the resumption of their ancient inheritance 
was not so easy in point of law as the simple act might 
have been, for this property had changed masters. One 
part had been ceded to religious corporations ; another part 
sold to individuals ; a third had been let on a lease. It 
was desirable to make an amicable arrangement with the 
various holders of the property ; and the prince acted 

It would be interesting to know the numbers of the 
Vaudois who established themselves in their burned or half- 
deserted villages ; but the exact data are wanting. All that 
we know is, that, during the years immediately following, 
the number of Yaudois able to bear arms did not exceed a 
thousand or eleven hundred. f And taking into account 
the very small proportion of children to adults, on their 
return, we can scarcely suppose the population more than 
three or four thousand persons. There was, however, in a 
short time, a rapid increase, the effect of numerous mar- 
riages and births, as is attested by some of the parish 
registers. J To the account of the Yaudois we must also 
add, in order to have the real number of the evangelical 
professors who came to repeople the valleys, some thou- 
sands of French from Pragela, DaujDhine, and elsewhere, 
some of Avhom had deserved this favour by fighting in the 
ranks of the Yaudois, under the conduct of Arnaud ; and 
others, attracted by their brethren and friends, had joined 
them, desirous as they were to live in countries bordering 
on the parts from which Louis xiv. had driven them. 

Yictor Amadeus, who regretted having been deprived, by 

* At Marsaille— a battle lost, it is true, by the duke and his aUies— the Vau- 
dois captains were Inabert, Peyrot, Combe, and Caffarel. (Storia di Pinerolo, 
1836 ; t. iv. p. 140.) 

t Letter translated from the Dutch, sent from Zurich to their Excellencies 
at Berne. (Archives de Berne, mark E.) 

X In the resfister of births, in the church of Angrogna, it is stated that from 
the month of August, 1690, to January 1st, 1697, there were 95 marriages and 
143 births in this very large commune. 

It is also stated that at this latter date there remained in the commune, 
thirty-eight or forty men who had been at Balsille ; that 100 persons of Angrogna 
had retm-ned from Piedmont, and that during these six years seventy persons 
of aU ages and both sexes died. (It is not mentioned in this document whether 
any women, childi'en, and other persons, retui-ned from Switzerland.) 

EDICT OF 1694. 381 

a persecution equally unjust and impolitic, of a faithful and 
courageous people, and who now wished to see them acquire 
some consistence, permitted the establishment of these 
strangers, Avho assimilated themselves to his subjects. 

The manifesto, which was intended to determine the 
position of the Yaudois in the state, to recognise theii^ right 
to the possession of the territory, and to guarantee the 
exercise of their religion, was, we may easily imagine, a 
docimient as difficult for the sovereign to draw up as to 
publish, on account of the constant opposition of their 
inveterate enemies, the papists, especially the jDnests and 
their agents. Nevertheless, the real ser\-ices they had 
rendered to their prince in this war were too recent, and 
"those that were still expected from their zeal too necessary, 
to allow the refusal of this authentic act. An edict of 
pacification was therefore published; but care was taken 
to grant the Yaudois no new advantage. They were put 
on the same footing on which they stood before the events 
that led to their exile. The edict, which is dated 13 (23) 
May, 1694, contains in substance the recognition of their 
legitimate establishment in the land of their ancestors, and 
their hereditaiy possessions ; the revocation of the edicts of 
January and April, 1686 ; ^vith a general and complete 
amnesty, and the promise of the favour of their prince. 
It obtained, moreover, all the legal sanctions of registration 
that were necessary to render it effectual. "^^ That the 
Yaudois, however, did not obtain their re-settlement with- 
out meeting with impediments is proved by the fact that 
pope Innocent xii., in a bull of the 19th of August, of the 
same year, 1694, declares the ducal edict respecting the 
Yaudois to be null and void, and enjoins on his inquisitors 
to pay no regard to it in the piu'suit of these heretics. 
But the senate of Turin, in decided harmony with the will 
of the prince, confii-med, by their rescript of the 31st of 
August, the validity of the edict of May 13 (23), and 
prohibited the pope's bull. 

However ill-disposed certain persons might be, the 
Yaudois colony would have advanced rapidly to prosperity 

* This fact is not without importance. The history of former periods shows 
us that many decrees of his royal highness were not effective, owing to their 
not being entered in the registers of the Senate. (For the Edict, see Storia di 
Pinerolo, iv. 141, and especially Duboin, Raccolta, etc., Turin, 1826, t. ii. 
p. 109 to 278, which contain the edicts relating to the Vaudois.) 


and risen from its ruins, protected as it was by the good- will 
of its sovereign, if politics, with their sinister means, their 
temptations and cruel reservations, had not given it a fatal 
blow. Victor Amadeus, seduced by the brilliant promises 
of Louis XIV. who restored to him his lost provinces and 
requested his daughter's hand for his grandson, the heir 
presumptive to the crown of Prance, consented to break his 
engagements with his allies and to place himself under the 
patronage of the great king. If, in accordance with the 
conditions of the treaty, Victor Amadeus remained faithful 
to his pledge to maintain the Yaudois in their heritage, and 
if he protected them against their inveterate enemy, the real 
author of the frightful calamities of 1686, yet he consented, 
alas ! to rigorous measures against the French belonging 
to the reformed church who were settled in the valleys, 
with whom he had made, it is true, no express engagement, 
but whom five years' residence might authorize to consider 
themselves as his new subjects. It was stipulated in this 
treaty, concluded secretly at Loretto at the beginning of 
1696, — 1, That the inhabitants of the Vaudois valleys 
should have no communication or connexion with the sub- 
jects of the great king in matters of religion ; and, 2, That 
the subjects of his most Christian majesty who had taken 
refuge in the valleys should be banished. 

In conformity with this treaty those of the French 
reformed settled in the vallej^s, who had enlisted in the 
Yaudois army, in the service of the duke, were obliged to 
quit the camp at Frescarole, and pass into Switzerland. 
They reached the Trench part of the canton of Berne at the 
beginning of August. Others followed them in the month 
of September."^' In the course of 1698, and not before, the 
terms of the treaty were fully executed. In the interval, 
apart from the efforts made to lead back to popery, by 
working on their fears, those who had returned to the 
Yaudois faith ; to alienate family property by marriages 
with Catholics ; and to prevent the valley of Perosa from 
being peopled with Yaudois, — scarcely any change was per- 
ceptible in the valleys. f But on the 1st of July, 1698, the 
duke of Savoy published the twofold decree which his 

* Archives of Berne, mark E. 

t Ai-naud's letter, dated from La Torre, 1697, to M. Walkenier, ambassador 
to the Swiss from the Low Coimtries.— (Aj'chives de Berne, mai-k E.) 


powerful neighbour had wrested from him ; namely, pro- 
hibiting the Yaudois from having any connexion, in reli- 
gious matters, with his French subjects, and ordering the 
latter to leave the valleys "within the space of two months, 
under pain of death and confiscation. This edict forcibly 
expelled seven pastors, who came originally from Pragela 
and Dauphine, — Montoux, the companion ofAmaud, Pap- 
pon, Giraud, Joiuxlan, Dumas, Javel, and, lastly, Henri 
Arnaud himself. In fact, Ai^naud was a Frenchman, from 
the environs of Die. Had it been otherwise, some reason 
probably would have been found for getting rid of him, for 
jealousy and calumny pui'sued him with their envenomed 
tongues. The accusation was wickedly renewed against 
him of wishing to form a republic, although his part in 
civil aifairs was confined to settling the difi'erences which 
sometimes arose in families, in rebuilding houses, or in the 
division of property on the unexpected return of some rela- 
tion. His person was too highly venerated, his counsels 
were much valued, and followed too promjDtly, to render 
it surprising that umbrage should be taken at a man so in- 
fluential among his adopted people. His name, celebrated 
by the remembrance of his exploits, by his enterprising 
genius and heroic firmness, as well as by his talents and 
virtues as a pastor, made him an object of dread to a party 
destitute of generosity, who in the councils of the prince 
secretly excited hatred against the evangelicals. It was 
with a heavy heart that the friend, the leader, the hero, 
the beloved pastor of the Yaudois, quitted for ever these 
churches to which he had consecrated his Kfe, and for whose 
re-establishment he had not feared death on the field of 
battle. Three thousand Frenchmen, refugees fr'om Pragela, 
Dauphine, and elsewhere, withdrew with him fr'om the 
valleys, where after cruel persecutions, they had found for a 
few years an imperfect repose. 

Geneva, which had admitted within its walls the un- 
fortunate Yaudois twelve years before, again charitably 
received these new guests, until their departure for Switzer- 
land and Germany. Arnaud entered it on the 30th August, 
1698. The companies of the other exiles followed during 
the first days of Setember.* 

Always prompt in his measures, Amaud had scarcely 

* Archives of Berne, mark E ; correspondence of Geneva. 


arrived, when he set out to solicit an asylum for his 
brethren from the Protestant courts of Germany. Writing 
from Stuttgard, he had the pleasure of announcing to the 
Bernese magistrates that the duke of Wirtemberg was 
favourable to the exiles, and would admit them within his 

They left, and this time without the hope of ever return- 
ing to their inhospitable valleys. The love of the Lord and 
Christian charity upheld their tottering steps. At one of 
their halts, at Knittlingen on the road from the Rhine to 
Maulbronu, a few leagues only from their destination, they 
took jDossession of the soil by depositing in it the remains 
of one of their faithful pastors, named Dumas, to whom 
death had scarcely given time to reach a place of refuge 
before he departed.'"' 

It was on the west and north of Stuttgard that the 
emigrants from the Yaudois Alps established themselves 
and founded their colonies, to which, from recollections at 
once mournful and ■ delightful, they gave the names of 
villages in the valleys of Perosa and Pragela which they 
had been obliged to quit. In the district of Maulbronu 
Yillar, (more commonly Gross Villar, that is Great Villar,)f 
Pinache, and Serres, j' Lucerna or Wurmberg, Le Queyras, 
a quarter in the town of Diirrmenz,§ and Schoenberg, to 
which Arnaud, who settled there as pastor, gave the name 
of Muriers;[| Perouse,^ in the district of Leonberg; jN^eu- 

* We are indebted for these particulars, as well as for many others respect- 
ing the Vaudois settlements in the south-west of Germany, to the kindness of 
oiir fellow-coimtryman and friend, M. P. Appia, pastor of the French church at 
Frankfort-on-Main. The valleys of Piedmont nvimber him among the worthiest 
of their sons, and one of theii' most devoted counsellors. I hope this humble 
and faithful servant of God will bear with tliis pubhc expression of respect 
which his character claims ; we are prompted to it by personal regards and a 
conviction of its truth. 

t In course of tune, this village contained a thousand Vaudois, and thus, no 
doubt, acquired the name of Great Villar. At the present time, the village is 
much less populous, and one-third, or perhaps one-half of its fa mil ies are of 
German extraction. The last Vaudois pastor in this parish was one of the 
name of Mondon, at the beguining of tliis century. He was a native of the 

X This latter place is sometimes called Sarras. 

§ At Diirrmenz the emigrants bmlt, in 1700, a street in a straight hne, which 
they called Queyi'as, in remembrance of the valley of that name in Upper 
Dauphine. The chapel of ease belonging to the parish is at a hamlet called 
Sangach, which the Vaudois pronounced Sinach. 

II Schoenberg is now only a subiu-b of Diirrmenz. 

T[ Now a village of 500 souls which retains no vestiges of a Vaudois settle- 
ment beyond the names of the families and of the locahty, such as Sartaz, 
PinadeUa, Grands-Ordons, Petits-Ordons. 


Hengstett, which they called Bourset,^'' in the district of 
Calw; Mentoiile^t now Xordhausen, in the district of 
Brachenheim ; La Balme, now called Palnibach, mth ]Mout- 
schelbach, between Pforzheim and Dourlach ; Waldensberg, 
in the county of AVaechtersbach, (Isemburg.) A certain 
number of families established themselves at AValdorf, a 
village in the ancient principality of Isemburg. The land- 
grave of Hesse-Darmstadt offered also an asylum to some 
of Arnaud's companions in Eohrbach, Wembach, and 
Halm, also at Iveltersbach ; the prince of Hesse-Hom- 
burgh at Dornholzhausen, and the count of Hanau in his 
own residence. 

On the soil of Germany, these victims of the fanatic 
hatred of Louis xiv. experienced no recurrence of sufferings 
such as those they formerly endured. Protected by the 
august princes of the Protestant faith, and treated by them 
with equity and kindness, like their other subjects, they 
have lived in prosperity and peace. 

Down to the commencement of the present century, the 
Yaudois colonies of Wirtemberg governed themselves, as 
far as regarded ecclesiastical affairs, by means of a presby- 
terian synod. Conformably to the ti*aditions of their 
church, they provided at their own expense the means of 
worship and instruction, and paid for the rejDairs of the 
temples, parsonages, and school-houses, as well as the 
maintenance of the schoolmasters and pastors ; a consider- 
able charge upon their poverty, which was lightened how- 
ever by the contributions of English charity. For a long- 
time they had the pleasure of being watched over by pastors 
of their own or of the mother-country, and of listening to 
their instructions in the language of their ancestors. But 
for many years they have been under the control (though 
un^^dllingly for the most part, and with a constrained submis- 
sion) of the superior consistory of Stuttgard. Hencefor- 
ward, the language of their worship and schools is German, 
and the national element is lost. Li a short time their 
separate history will end, if it have not done so akeady. 

* Neu-Hengstett is only a poor commune of about 400 souls, all acrricultura! 
labourers. The last Vaudois pastor was named Gejononat, whom many per- 
sons still remember. He came from the valleys. 

t Founded by the Vaudois of Montoul, Fenestrelles, andUsseauxin Pi-agela, 
not being able to agree on the name of the settlement, the prince of Wirtem- 
berg called it Nordiiausen. 



The Yaudois patois is almost forgotten, though, it may he 
in use in a certain number of villages.* Very soon, it is to 
he feared, nothing but the naraesf of families and those of 
villages and particular localities will recall the origin of 
these men of the south, whose swarthj^ complexion and 
black hair will no longer serve to distinguish their de- 

In one of these colonies, Schoenberg, near Diirrmenz, 
the hero of the Vaudois terminated his career. Preferring 
the exercise of his pastoral functions to military honours 
and glory, Henri Arnaud declined the pressing invitations 
of William in., king of England, who had sent him a 
colonel's brevet and the offer of a regiment. He wished 
to forget, as a humble presbyter, the art of war and gene- 
ralship together with the remembrance of his exploits. 
Wholly devoted to the work of the ministry, to the preach- 
ing of the gospel, to consoling the poor and the afflicted, he 
applied liimself to lead the flock committed to his charge 
no longer into their ancient country, as when he reconquered 
the Vaudois soil at the head of nine hundred valiant men, 
but to the heavenly abodes, in the footsteps of the Head 
and Saviour of the church. 

Having been twice married, and the father of three sons 
and two daughters, he died at Schoenberg on the 8th of 
September, 1721, at the age of fourscore years, leaving a 
very inconsiderable patrimony to his children, — an evident 
proof, that in his connexions with the great in this world, 
as well as in his enterprises, he had forgotten himself 
while seeking oiAj the general good. 

Within the humble precincts of a temple with walls of 
clay, and a bell whose sound was never heard bej^ond the 
cherry-trees of the village, gratitude and respect have 
assigned an honourable place to the mortal remains of this 
great man, for whom the modest crook of a shepherd of 
souls had a stronger attraction than an elevated rank in the 

* In 1820, a schoolmaster, originally from the settlemient of Serres, con- 
versed at Lausanne in the patois, which he pfeneraUy used, with the students 
from the Vaudois valley, and was understood by them. The pastor Appia, in 
two visits which he paid to the Vaudois settlements of Wu-temberg, in 1845 
and 1846, ascertained, that though in many villages, such as Serres and 
Pinache, all the famiUes stiU speak their ancient idiom ; at other places, such 
as Perosa, it is entirely forgotten. 

t Among the names well known in the Vaudois vaUeys and in Pragela, are 
those of Ravou-e, Mondon, Geymet, Vole, Poet, Peyrot, Clapier, Pascal, Jom'- 
dan. Carrier, Jouvenal, etc. 


army, than honour and glory, or than the favour of courts. 
His ashes repose at the foot of the communion-table. An 
engTa\dng-, hung under the desk of the pulpit, exhibits the 
features which distinguished the hero of Salabertrand and 
Balsille ; while a Latin inscription engraven on the stone 
that covers his tomb recalls his exploits. The following is 
a translation : 




In the centre of the monument — 

" Thou seest here the ashes of Arnaud, but his achieve- 
ments, labours, and undaunted courage no one can depict. 
The son of Jesse combats alone against thousands of 
foreigners ; alone he terrifies their camp and leader. He 
died Sept. 8, and was buried, 1721. 


The Yaudois population of the valleys of Lucerna, An- 
grogna, Perosa, and San Martino, now considerably dimi- 
nished by the forced emigration of three thousand French- 
men, whose presence during many years had filled uj) the 
immense vacancies made by persecution, had themselves to 
sufi'er, at times, measures severe and vexatious, as Avell as 
prejudicial to their prosperity. Although it appeared cer- 
tain that Yictor Amadous was not unfavourably disposed 
to the Yaudois, yet an underhand and concealed war was 
made upon them. Contrary to the terms of the edict for 
their re-estabhshment, the children of the Yaudois who had 
been dispersed over Piedmont were tampered with and 
tm^ned from the faith by promises of marriage and other 
means of seduction, or by acting on their fears by threats. 
Under the pretext of the incompatibility of Protestantism 
and Popery, and at the instigation of Prance, their next 
neighbour,^*' endeavours were made to prevent the Yaudois 
of the half- valley of Perosa from entering into possession of 
their property on the left bank of the Clusone, and estab- 
lishing themselves there. Payment in full was claimed out 
of their slender means, of all the taxes and imposts since 

* It must lie recollected that France at that time possessed the valley of 
Pragela, the eastern part of the valley of Perosa and Pinerolo. 

s 2 


their expulsion in 1686, and consequently during the 
period which they had spent in foreign lands, and in which 
their property was possessed by others. Ancient debts, 
also, which they supposed were extinguished, were laid to 
their account, amounting, with some fresh items, to 450,000 
French francs, for which interest was required at three per 
cent. It was an additional misfortune that the imposts 
had been considerably increased, and were exacted with 
rigour. While they were not required from the Catholics, 
the Vaudois, who were unable to discharge them, were 
immediately ejected. Popish missionaries traversed the 
villages and mountains, directing their efforts chiefly to poor 
families, whom they too often succeeded in di^awing into 
apostasy. Sometimes, the vague rumour of a new and 
immediate forced emigration was spread from place to place, 
and filled their hearts with anxiety ; at other times, they 
were calmed and consoled by being assured that the duke 
was most kindly disposed towards his Yaudois subjects. 
They were never allowed to repair or rebuild the churches 
that had been injured or pulled down, and the severe 
measures taken against the French part of the population 
prevented their having a sufficient number of ministers. 
This want would have been unsupplied if the canton of 
Eerne had not sent some preachers, by permission of the 

At the end of 1698, the situation of the Yaudois appeared 
so precarious that one of their pastors, Blachon, expressed 
in a letter his fears that such a state of things could not 
last a year, and as it concerned himself, he saw no safety 
but in emigration. The Yaudois at this period, after the 
departure of the French Protestants, were reduced to the 
number of eleven hundred men able to bear arms. Such 
were the effects of the return of Yictor Amadeus to an 
alliance with France. Political considerations overpowered 
the better feelings of his heart. The Yaudois were victims 
to his plans of aggrandizement. 

An alteration in the politics of the court of Savoy, at the 
commencement of the eighteenth century, led to a slight 
amelioration in the condition of the valleys. Yictor Ama- 

* At that time, the following emineiit men were among the pastors of the 
vaUeya : Jacob Dubois, Philippe Dind, Isaac Senebier, Joseph Decoppet, 
Philippe Dntoit, and Abram Heniiod. — (Extract from the pai-ish registers of 
the -s-alleys.) 


dcus Gscapod from the infliieiice of Louis xiv. on tlie occa- 
sion of the Spanish succession, and entered into a league 
with the emperor of Germany and the two great Protestant 
powers, England and Holland, to make war on the French 
monarch. It may he supposed that in the correspondence 
of the allied cabinets, and in the conferences of the ambas- 
sadors, the affairs of the Yaudois came under discussion, 
and that the intercession of the Protestant courts was not 
unavailing. The secret articles of the preceding treaty of 
alliance, signed at the Hague, in 1691, were no doubt 
confirmed, by which the duke of Savoy guaranteed to the 
Yaudois the exercise of their religion. This prince also 
approved of the protection granted by these two powers to 
the churches of the valleys, and peiTaitted the transmission 
of foreign subsidies intended to aid their poverty. A few 
words on this subject may be properly introduced here. 

Queen Mary, the consort of AVilliam iii., king of 
England, had formed a fund, — the interest of which 
was then and is still called, the Poyal Subsidy, for the 
purpose of paying the salaries of the pastors of the 
valleys, and also those of the colony of Wirtemberg.* 
The states-general of Holland employed the interest of a 
fund obtained by collections throughout the states, as well 
as the amount of annual collections, for the payment of 
the salaries of schoolmasters, gratuities to superannuated 
pastors, and to the widows of pastors, for relie\'ing the poor 
of each church, and also for the support of a Latin school. 
And as we are now on the subject of gifts of Christian 
charity made at this time, or a few years before, for the 
suffering Yaudois, we must not forget the bursaries appro- 
priated by the evangelical cantons of Switzerland to the 
students of the valleys in some of their academies ; namely, 
one at Bale, five at Lausanne, and two at Geneva. In this 
last city, one was paid by the state out of the funds of the 
general hospital ;f the second proceeded from a donation 

* It has been said that since the wars at the beorinning- of this centmy, the 
pastors of the Vaudois settlements in Wirtemberg cease to receive their salaries 
from England. Those of the valleys are still indebted to it for a part of their 
maintenance. We may add that in 1770, the hberal collections made in Great 
Britain permitted an augmentation of the pastors' salaries in the valleys. The 
interest of this latter fund bore the name of the National Subsidy, to distin- 
gvtish it from the Royal Subsidy furnished by the crown. 

t This bursary ceased in 1798 ; those of Lausanne were partially interrupted, 
and afterwards re-estabhshed for a time. 


made by M. Clignet, postmaster at Lcyclcn, and entrusted 
to the Committee of the Italian Exchange.* 

While the valleys, in consequence of their prince's taking 
a part in the coalition against France, felt themselves less 
oppressed h}' the restraints of a hateful fanaticism which 
that power then displayed towards evangelical Christians, 
their militia, enlisted under his banners, acquitted them- 
selves with the greatest credit. The war that Victor 
Amadeus had to sustain against his ancient alty was long 
and disadvantageous to his arms. His personal courage, 
his perseverance in the contest, and great efforts could not 
save him from being crushed under the strokes of his for- 
midable neighbour. He saw himself deprived of the 
greater number of his fortified places, and at last, in 1706, 
was besieged in his capital, Turin. The recital of the 
vicissitudes of this siege docs not enter into the plan of 
this history, yet we must mention an episode in it which 
is strictly connected Avith our subject. The labours of the 
siege were suddenly interrupted by the flight of the duke of 
Savoy, who left the city at the head of a body of cavalry. 
The French general, the duke de la Feuillade, pursued him 
with a party of the besiegers, reckoning upon getting pos- 
session of his person. In fact, more than once Victor 
Amadeus was closely pressed, and in imminent ' danger. 
Having almost reached Saluzzo, he proceeded to the left of 
the Po, and took refuge in the moimtains, among his 
faithful Vaudois. Let us here quote the words of the count 
de Saluzzo, who was, after all, no great friend to the Vaudois : 

''The object of Victor Amadeus was," he says, ''to en- 
courage M. de la Feuillade to run after him. He fell back 
to Lucerna. The Vaudois joined him in great numbers. He 
was so well fortified in the position he chose, that the French 
general, after advancing as far as Bricherasco, gave up the 
design of encoimtering him."f The Piedmontcse historian 
notices the fact of the stay of Victor Amadeus in the midst 
of the Vaudois, and the zeal of the latter to surround his 
person, in order to defend him unto death; but he does 
not say, what, nevertheless, we cannot pass over in silence, 
that the duke reposed at night under the roof of a Vaudois, 

* These details are extracted from a little work, entitled, Le Livre de Famille, 
(The Family Book,) Geneva, 1830, by the ancient moderator of the Vaudois 
churches, P. Bert, who, from his oflETce, might be expected to know them. 

t Histoire Militaire, t. v., p. 189. 


in the midst of the humble f)opulation of Rora. Thus this 
enlightened prince appreciated and estimated at its proper 
value the honesty and perfect fidelity of his evangelical 
subjects, whom the popish perfidy and hatred of Louis xi\., 
though they had been so long attached to him, had repre- 
sented as enemies of his person and kingdom, and whom 
he had treated with excessive rigour twenty years be- 
fore. The confidence displayed on this occasion hj Victor 
Amadeus did as much honour to his judgment as to 
the simple and faithful men to whom it was given. The 
family of Durand Canton, to whom the privilege belonged 
of offering hospitality to their sovereign^ preserve irrefrag- 
able proofs of it ; namely, the goblet and silver ser^dce he 
made use of, which he left as a memorial of his "s-isit, as 
well as an authentic act, authorizing the family who received 
him to bury their dead in their garden. Duiing the retreat 
of the French, who were at last beaten by prince Eugene 
under the walls of Tiu'in, and constrained to flee after having 
raised the siege of that city, the Yaudois gave a second 
mark of devotion to their sovereign, by not sj)aring them- 
selves in the pursuit. ''The French army," says the 
count of Saluzzo; " took the route to Dauphine, which it 
did not reach without experiencing fresh losses, having 
been continually harassed on its march by the Yaudois 
soldiers, under the command of colonel de Saint-Amour."* 
The peace of Utrecht in 1713, so advantageous to Yictor 
Amadeus, whose dominions it increased, while putting 
on his head a royal crown, that of Sicily, exchanged 
some years afterwards, rather by constraint, for that of Sar- 
dinia, tended inevitably to bring back that attention and 
activity to the interior which had been expended outwardly 
on a contest of the most serious importance. Political pre- 
judices were again in action against the existence of a reli- 
gious confession diff'erent fi-om that of the generality. The 
secret enemies of the Yaudois and of the reformed religion 
impelled the government to some vexatious and even unjust 
measures. In the first class we may mention the obliga- 
tion imposed on all the Yaudois churches to observe as holy- 
days all the numerous festivals ordained by the Eomish 
chiu-ch, contrary to their ancient usages, and notwithstand- 

* Histoire Militaire, t. v., p. 212. The Vaudois sigrnalized themselves by 
other feats of arms in the first half of the eighteenth centuiy . 


ing the absence of antecedent legal arrangements ; so also 
the difficulties, or rather direct hindrances, put by the 
custom-house in the way of the admission of the books 
necessar}^ for the services of religion ; and the refusal 
to admit any Yaudois to the office of notary : also 
many grievances which have been constantly repeated since 
that time. Another measure taken against the Yaudois 
may be cited as evidently unjust, namel}^, that which con- 
strained the Yaudois parents, whose child might have passed 
over to popery, to provide him with a maintenance, or to 
give him his legal portion, both of personal and real pro- 
perty; an unjust measure, for it tended to weaken parental 
authority, to give an advantage to vicious and rebellious 
children, and to reduce aged persons to indigence, by 
depriving them of property without which they could not 
make shift to live. These exactions and severities drew 
forth complaints from the population of the valleys. They 
had recourse to the benevolence and justice of their sove- 
reign ; but whatever methods they took, however humble 
the petitions they addressed to him, no success attended 
their efforts. 

At this juncture, a monarch, whose august house had 
constantly given the Yaudois proofs of its enlightened and 
Christian benevolence, Prcderic William i., king of Prussia,^* 

* The letter of the Idng of Prussia to the king of Sarthnia : — " Sir, my 
Brother,— Affected as I am with the present moirrnful situation of the Protes- 
tant chni'ches in the valleys of Piedmont, I cannot forbear addressing these 
lines to you on theii' l^ehalf, hoping that yom* majesty will receive them more 
favourably, since you wiU. easily judge by the affection you feel towards those 
who profess the same religion as yourself, that I must have the same tender 
regard for the said chm-ches, and that their preservation and tranquillity can 
never be indifferent to me. 

" I cannot beheve that the complamts of these poor churches have reached 
jour majesty, or if they have, that they have been represented so as to do 
them complete justice ; for every one knows that your majesty is too generous 
to be able to refuse remedjong the grievances of a people who, on many im- 
portant occasions, have shed their blood and sacrificed their property in the 
service of your majesty, and that with so much bravery and fidehty that your 
majesty has always appeared satisfied. 

" Relying on these testimonies, I promise myself that your majesty will be 
well plensed, as I earnestly entreat, to contmue yoiu' roynl protection and 
benevolence to the aforesaid Protestant churches, and allow them peaceably 
to enjoy the edicts already published in then favour, and especiaUy that of the 
23rd of May, 1694, in contravention of which it has been attempted to olihge 
the said Protestant churches, under rigorous penalties, to observe all the feasts 
appointed by the Romish church, winch is a proceeding dnectly conti'ary to 
that liberty of conscience, of which, as your majesty knows, no prince can 
deprive his subjects without committing extreme violence, and without 
encroachhig even on the rights reserved for the Divine Majesty, to whom 
alone belongs the dominion over the hearts and consciences of men. 

" The ordinance pul:)lished under youi* majesty's name, that the Protestant 


interceded in their favonr in the beginning of the year 
1725. The ans^^-er of Victor Araadens, although evasiye, 
expressed friendly dispositions towards them. These were 
also shown in a subsequent act, which will soon come under 
our notice, without its being possible to say that they 
materially modified the condition of the victims of popish 
prejudices, or that they much weakened the opposition of a 
jealous religion, which never ceased to hold uj) to their prince 
as dangerous subjects men whose blood had recently been 
spilt in his service. The principles of an enlarged tolera- 
tion never prevailed in the administration of the Vaudois 
aifairs, and at this time so much the less, when the govern- 
ment was resolved to take very severe measures against the 
evangelical Christians of another part of his majesty's states, 
namely, that of Pragela, annexed to the Piedmontese terri- 
tory by the treaty of Utrecht. 

In spite of the fiuy of Louis xiv., and the violent emi- 
gration to which, in 1698, he had forced more than three 
thousand Protestants of that country, there still remained 
in the valley of Pragela some hundreds of persons who 
although less fervent in their faith, and less disposed to 
sacrifice their lives for it, either by exile, or openly con- 
fessing their religion, nevertheless preserved in secret the 
hopes, the belief, and the worship of the gospel. Passing 
under the dominion of Savoy in 1713, and seeing that their 
brethren in the faith and neighbours in the valleys of 
Lucema and San Martino enjoyed the exercise of their 
religion, they took courage, put off all dissimulation, and 
assembled frequently for edification in the temple of their 
brethren. For some time, their return to the faith of their 

Vaudois must furnish the children who have abjui'ed the religion of then- 
fathers with a maintenance, or give them their legal share of the real and 
personal property of their parents, cannot be less severe nor less contrary than 
the above-mentioned Divine and human laws, since it inspires Protestant 
children with sentiments of insubordination and withdraws them from the 
obedience due to their fathers and mothers, reducing the latter at the same 
time to an impossibihty of maintaining themselves ; especially when their 
property hes entirely in land, or they are constrained to part with many por- 
tions of their property, to make them over to their childi'en, who may have 
been seduced to abandon the Protestant rehgion. 

" I beg also your majesty to be assured that of aU the marks of friendship 
you are able to give me, that of paying attention to my intercession for the 
said Protestant churches will always be to me the most agreeable, and the one 
for which I shall feel most sensibly obhged. I shall with pleasiu-e avail myself 
of every opportunity to testify my lively gratitude, and to prove to your majesty 
the sincerity and high consideration with which I am, etc., 

"Berlin, Jan. 6, 1725." " Fbedeeic William. 

(Vide Dieterici, p. 396.) 

s 3 


ancestors was unnoticed, both by the Yaudois and their 
neighbours. But Romish susceptibility and the traditional 
policy of the government now took the alarm at their bold- 
ness, and brought it to an issue in 1730. An edict con- 
strained them to choose between a fresh abjuration and 
exile. A friendly attempt at mediation on the part of the 
king of Prussia with the king of Sardinia could not ward off 
the bloAv."^' Three himdred and sixty individuals, recovered 
from their former fall, and animated with the love of the 
Lord, not feeling themselves at liberty in their consciences 
to deny their faith, decided on the latter alternative. They 
arrived in the Pays de Yaud in the course of May, 1730. 
The government of Berne received them with the same 
charity which it had displayed towards their unfortunate 
brethren in the preceding century. A part of them settled 
there ; f the rest rejoined their relatives who were settled in 
Wirtemberg or elsewhere. 

All the friends of the gospel in Pragela did not emigrate. 
The weak dissembled afresh, and went to mass. In secret, 
they continued to read the word of God. After the end of 
the century, the author of this work, then a student, having 
requested hospitality at a house in the valley, met with a 
cordial reception as one preparing to be a minister of the 
gospel. " We have the Bible, — we read it," they said, and 
placed the precious antique volume before him. It is not 
very long since that the popish authorities, jealous of the 
sacred book, seized and burned all the copies they could, 
discover in the valleys. The last victory over the truth — 
to burn the Bible in the nineteenth century! — Spirit of 
Eome, thou art alwa^^s the same. 

In this same year, 1730, Yictor Amadous ii. was urged 
by the Prench court to severe measures against the Prench 
Protestants who had taken refuge in the valleys, and by 
pope Clement xii. to punish the relapsed and renegades, 
with the threat, that if his wishes were not complied with, 
he would dissolve the advantageous concordat that then 
existed between him and the court of Turin. Being thus 

* Dieterici, pp. 398, 399. 

t We find in the lists published by M. Dieterici, p. 404, names that stiU exist 
in the Canton de Yaud, and in the neighbom-ing cantons, such as Bermond, 
Guvot, Papon, Jannin, Perrot, Turin, Chailler, etc. Many other names are 
the same in the Canton de Yaud as in the Yaudois valleys ; such are those of 
Ganin, Buffa, Chauvi, Goimet, Barloz, Bonnet, Bonjom-, Blanched, Odin, 
Malan, Combe, etc. 


prompted, Yictor published on tlie 20th June a severe 
edict against three classes of persons, in which also are to 
be found some arrangements respecting the churches of the 
valleys. The French Protestants, whom the toleration 
granted to the Yaudois and their vicinity to them had 
attracted thither, were ordered to leave his majesty's domi- 
nions ^^-ithin six months under pain of flogging, and after- 
wards five years at the galleys. The Yaudois who should 
give them an asylum would receive the estrapado"^' for the 
first off'ence, and for the second a public flogging. Catholics 
who had embraced Protestantism, and Yaudois who had 
become Catholics, but had returned to their former profes- 
sion, were to receive a similar sentence. The same threats 
were held out to those who should conceal them. In vain 
the compassionate monarch who reigned over Prussia 
requested a full toleration in favour of the converts from 
Catholicism, referring on their behalf to the edict of paci- 
fication of 1694: Yictor Amadeus remained inflexible.! 
About five hundred proselytes, now stedfast and unflinch- 
ing at the thoughts of exile, took, at the beginning of the 
winter of 1730, the road to Geneva, where they arrived in 
the course of December. 

As to the arrangements in the edict of the 20th of June, 
respecting the ancient churches of the three Yaudois valleys, 
it was decreed that conformablj^ to the edict of 1620, their 
members should enjoy the right of working in their houses, 
with closed doors, on Catholic feast-days, and that they 
might from time to time obtain from magistrates of this 
religion permission to be employed on pubKc works when 
similar permission was granted to the Catholics ; that the 
acquisition of real and personal property was lawful for 
them within the limits, and that as to their properties 
beyond these, the senate would decide according to reason 
and justice ; ;|: that the cemeteries of the Yaudois were to 
be at a distance from dwelling-houses, or the public roads, 
and without inclosures ; that, however, no alteration should 
be made in the state of those of Eora, La Torre, Yillaro, 
and Bobbio. A subsequent article decreed that the funeral 
processions might be as numerous as they pleased ; that no 

* A ptmishment in whicli the person was raised by his hands tied behind 
his back, and then let fall with a shght concussion, once, twice, or more, as 
the case might be. 

t Correspondence of the king of Prussia and the king of Sardinia in Dieterici, 
p. 398. 

X That is, according to their notions of what was proper. 


new temple should be built, tbeir number remaining the 
same as before 1686; tbat, however, the cahane (cottage or 
thatched house; this is the name the edict gave to the 
temple of St. Barthelemi) might be kept standing, but 
without being enlarged or repaired ; that the pastor should 
not live in its vicinity, but return and fix himself at Eoche- 
platte, as in ancient times ; *"^' the Yaudois were authorized 
to have schoolmasters taken from among themselves and of 
their religion, provided they admitted into their schools 
none but Yaudois children, under a p